Welcome to another ROH Wednesday, as we tackle the next show from our 2003 retrospective in the form of Wrestlerave. We’ll split this into two parts again, so we’ll go on till intermission and then pick up the concluding part next week.
June 28, 2003
From the Murphy Rec Center in Philadelphia, PA
Your hosts are Ray Murrow and Chris Levy
Show starts with Low Ki cutting a promo with his arm in a sling as he thanks the fans for their support as he recovers from his injury. He then calls out Danny Maff for joining the Prophecy and says that they will never have a place in RoH, much like Julius Smokes as the streets do not belong in Ring of Honor. Ki then says that Samoa Joe proved to be a fighting champion and how the one-year anniversary of their first match is coming up soon and he will be returning to the ring in August then yanks of his sling and tells Joe all he can do is be ready. Decent promo from Ki here.
Rob Feinstein cuts an intentionally corny promo then gets asked about the “promo schedule” by someone off camera when Simply Luscious interrupts. Feinstein points out how The Group lost two weeks ago and has disbanded so wants to know why she is here as Corino, Shane, and CW Anderson are all out of the company. Luscious said she is ready to work as Feinstein said she can sell programs as Luscious then cuts a terrible promo about how we have not seen the last of The Group and that Corino will come back to cause trouble. This telegraphs a Corino return but the segment itself was not too good.
Dunn & Marcos vs. Prince Nana & Jimmy Jact Cash
Before the match, Nana insults the crowd as he calls Cash one of the best wrestlers on the Independent scene today. Marcos then grabs the mic to say their catchphrases but get attacked from behind. Cash knocks down Marcos before destroying him in the corner. Cash then hits a flying back elbow smash for two then goes over to Dunn and calls him a “bitch” but turns around and gets hit with a Northern Lights suplex. Both men tag out as Nana catches Dunn with a lariat before hitting a few running charges in the corner. Cash tags and comes off of the top with a leg drop then hits a spinebuster but Dunn is able to come back with a Gory Bomb as both men are down then tag out as Dunn & Marcos take care of Nana. Dunn puts Marcos on his shoulders and tosses him off with a senton onto Nana but Cash breaks that up but after that, Dunn assists Marcos with a Sliced Bread #2 and ends up splashing onto Nana in the process then gets the win as Dunn & Marcos have won their first match (4:18) 3/4*. After the match, Dunn & Marcos celebrate to a solid reaction from the crowd.
Thoughts: Match was nothing but it was cool to see Dunn & Marcos actually win. Their celebration afterwards was fun.
Alexis Laree vs. Sumie Sakai
Match starts with the girls trading moves. Sakai’s screams are quite grating. Sakai then hits a pair of missile dropkicks before putting Laree in a bow-and-arrow lock. Sakai then puts on a Camel’s Clutch as the match has slowed down. Laree fights out and hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors but gets caught with a knee. They have a sloppy pinfall reversal sequence then follow that with a much better one as they are rolling all over the ring with the ref unable to even make a count due to how fast they were going. That pumps up the crowd then Sakai gets two with a back suplex. Northern Lights Suplex gets two. Sakai slams her down the goes up top but misses a moonsault then Laree hits her with an inverted DDT for the win (5:02) **1/4. After the match, Laree raises the arm of Sakai and they hug each other.
Thoughts: Decent action here and easily the best women’s match in the company to date. Even still, the company has no semblance of a women’s division but as the show went on it seemed like they were trying to establish one.
The Prophecy are backstage as Daniels says that they finally got rid of The Group but are not going to rest and that their mission is to retain the RoH Championship as Danny Maff will be taking on Samoa Joe for the belt tonight. Maff tells Joe that he beat him once and will do it again. Daniels then said that he will team with Raven tonight to face the Second City Saints as Raven is shown sitting on the ground. Daniels asks Raven if he is okay with his messed up ankle as the camera zooms in with Raven just smiling into the camera.
Tap Out Match
Chad Collyer vs. Matt Stryker
Collyer is taking the place of Tom Carter, who we are told missed the show as his wife was about to give birth. Crowd is silent to start as the guys trade holds. Hell, they didnt even applaud the standoff. A few guys start a “Let’s go Stryker” chant as Collyer has him grounded on the mat. Stryker now takes control as he has Collyer in a crossface of sorts. Collyer comes back and pus Stryker in a painful looking hold that pops the crowd but cannot maintain it and they end up back on their feet. Collyer takes Stryker back down and stretches him out in order to soften him up for the Texas Cloverleaf, the move that has made Stryker tap twice. Stryker comes back and grounds Collyer with a hammerlock. Collyer fights out then knees Stryker in the face before roughing him up as Levy shits on the WWE for the “Boring” angle with Lance Storm. Stryker ends up escaping from a Fujiwara armbar and is able to put Collyer in his own finisher. Collyer is able to reach the ropes and ducks outside then yanks down Stryker and starts roughing him up, even ramming his leg against the ring post. Collyer attacks the leg with Stryker trying to fight back. Collyer locks on a Figure Four that Stryker is able to reverse as both men are now limping around then start to trade chops. Stryker is able to put Collyer in the ankle lock in the middle of the ring as the crowd chants “tap.” Collyer fights out and Stryker puts him back in the hold then Collyer trips him up and locks on the Texas Cloverleaf but Stryker reaches the ropes. Stryker then puts on the Stryker Lock but Collyer reaches the ropes as the crowd boos. Collyer floats over on a suplex attempt from the apron then blocks an enziguiri as he takes down Stryker with a Dragon Screw then is able to put Stryker back in the Cloverleaf as Stryker has no choice but to tap (18:20) **1/2.
Thoughts: The “pure wrestling” matches were too dull for my tastes. Also, it wasn’t even all that psychologically involved as they just did submission holds for the sake of doing them, making it too contrived. Plus, both guys bore the shit out of me. Never did get why they were high on Stryker at this point. He should have been a Velocity jobber for the WWE.
Izzy & Dixie & Deranged w/ Special K vs. Carnage Crew & Justin Credible
Before the match, the Carnage Crew introduce Justin Credible as a surprise partner, despite the fact he joined them at the last show. He gets a good pop from the crowd and a loud “welcome back” chant too. After some stalling by Special K, the match begins with Credible taking down Deranged. Credible beats on him but Deranged comes back with a hurricarana and a spin kick that has the rest of Special K going crazy. Loc tags in and beats on Dixie until he gets hit with a tornado DDT. DeVito tags and he beats on Izzy and they work an awful sequence that takes the crowd out of the match. Izzy fights out of the opposing corner as Special K are wrestling as the faces here then makes the hot tag to Deranged. Loc tags and folds Deranged in half with a Saito Suplex. DeVito then destroys him with crossfaces as Levy a lot of awful jokes on commentary. Credible tags back in and chops Deranged in the corner. DeVito misses a moonsault as Deranged makes the hot tag to Dixie, who runs wild. His offense looked bad here. The fans are silent as Special K are the faces in this match, despite being heels. As soon as I say that Special K gets the crowd going with a dive sequence capped off by Izzy getting crazy height on his move. Back in the ring, the Carnage Crew are in control until Dixie fights them off. He potatoed Loc badly on a moonsault kick and has had a terrible match as a whole. Credible takes him out with a super kick then hits the That’s Incredible (Tombstone) for the win (9:13) *3/4.
Thoughts: This was entertaining at times but some of this was bad and Dixie flat-out sucked in this match. Nothing he did looked good and he managed to single-handedly dragged down the match. And Special K playing faces for the match made no sense to the crowd but would play into the end of the show.
RoH World Title Match
Danny Maff vs. Samoa Joe
They let us know that Maff’s father just passed away the day prior as Maff gets a ton of cheers from the crowd. Maff attacks Joe before the bell. Joe ducks outside where Maff takes him out with a tope. Back inside they exchange strikes with Joe winning that battle then he shoves Maff into the guardrail but misses the ole kick but is able to catch him with a big boot off of a charge. He then hits the ole kick as the crowd goes nuts and want to see it one more time so Joe does it and it looked brutal. Joe tosses Maff into the guardrail before hitting him with a chair. Brutal stuff so far. The action heads back into the ring as Joe hits a butterfly suplex before stretching him out. Joe kicks Maff a few times then hits a German Suplex but Maff pops right up and hits a clothesline as the crowd is fully behind him. Maff beats on Joe in the corner then hits him with a cannonball and follows that with a heel kick. Lariat gets two. Joe puts Maff in the choke but it gets countered with a back suplex as both men are down. Maff finally crawls on top of Joe but is only able to get two. Maff charges but Joe flattens him with an uranage. Joe gets two with a powerbomb then locks on a STF but Maff is able to reach the ropes. Joe charges as Maff returns the favor and catches him with an uranage. He then has Joe up for the Burning Hammer but Joe escapes and hits an enziguiri before getting the win with a Dragon Suplex (10:37) ***1/4. After the match, both guys bow in front of each other on the mat as the crowd applauds. Joe then leaves as Maff is in the ring soaking up the applause from the crowd, who are going crazy for him.
Thoughts: Good hard-hitting match and a nice moment for Maff as the fans really let him know that they felt sorry about the passing of his father. I’m not the biggest Maff fan in the world but he has improved since the company began.
Gary Michael Cappetta is with Homicide and Julius Smokes as he asks Homicide about his match without honor tonight against Trent Acid. This is the result of Acid attacking Homicide at the Do or Die Show that took place one month prior. Cappetta then asks Smokes about Low Ki’s comments about him costing Homicide the title as he goes off on a tirade about him. They were using the beef between Ki/Smokes to enhance Homicide’s storyline and I was fine with that, especially with Ki being injured.
Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Tony Mamaluke
This is the RoH debut of both Shelley and Jacobs, who is only 19 years old here. He starts off the match with Mamaluke as they go back and forth on the mat. Levy alerts us that Cappetta is trying to arrange an interview with both Julius Smokes and Low Ki. Jacobs tags and has a test of strength with Mamaluke and from that they have a pinfall reversal sequence. Jacobs reaches the ropes quickly after Mamaluke put him in an armbar as the crowd chants “let’s go huss” at Jacobs, referencing his furry boots. Shelley tags and works a nice sequence with Jacobs. Shelley is the more impressive out of the two. Whitmer tags and hits both guys with an Exploder but Mamaluke also tags and works the leg. Mamaluke then locks on a Camel Clutch but that gets reversed. Shelley tags himself in and beats on Mamaluke. Jacobs tags as the crowd goes nuts with a “huss” chant then he gets booted to the floor by Whitmer. Lots of quick tags as the action stays steady. Shelley shoves Mamaluke off of the top rope but gets tripped by Whitmer then Jacobs knocks Whitmer off of the apron and tries a hurricarana off of the top rope but Shelley counters and alley oops Jacobs into the turnbuckle from the top in a move that I have never seen before. The pace picks as we get several nearfalls that get broken up and the action is all good. Whitmer then takes the advantage as he overpowers everyone before putting away Jacobs with an Exploder just before Shelley tapped to Mamaluke’s hold (14:34) ***1/2.
Thoughts: Very good match that was all action. Shelley in particular stood out as he showed a lot of personality and did a fine job in the ring. Jacobs was a fan favorite and also did a fine job in the ring as well. Mamaluke is just a guy added to provide some name value but it was Whitmer who was the focus of the match.
No DQ Match
Colt Cabana & CM Punk w/ Lucy vs. Raven & Christopher Daniels w/ Allison Danger
Punk gets on the mic after being chased from the ring as he runs down Raven and the fans. He enters with Cabana and they both get clotheslined to the floor. Back inside, the Second City Saints are getting double-teamed as Raven & Daniels put them in the row boat spot. Raven sets up a chair but Punk blocks a drop toehold. However, Daniels whacks him with the chair. Punk then is able to return the favor as he is now busted open. Punk and Cabana then open up Daniels, who tries to fight back. Punk is wearing a crimson mask at this point. The Second City Saints maintain control as the crowd chants “Raven’s Bitch” at Punk before he locks on a crossface. Cabana stretches out Daniels as despite a “No DQ” stipulation, it is not tornado rules and you must tag in and out. Daniels has Cabana in a submission but Punk breaks that up with a leg drop from the top rope. Daniels fights back and hits Cabana with an inverted DDT then makes the tag to Raven, who runs wild. Cabana knocks down the ref then gets caught with a Raven Effect. The girls are fighting in the ring now then Cabana super kicks Danger out of the ring. Everyone then trades finishers until Punk hits Raven with a chain then chokes him out. He starts whipping Raven with the chain then covers him as the ref crawls over and counts to three (13:47) *1/2. After the match, Punk chokes out Raven with the chain some more as he is covered in blood. After the Second City Saints leave, Raven is slowly helped to his feet then he grabs the mic and tells Punk that their will have to be retribution for what he did and that they will have to settle this once and for all next show in a Dog Collar Match. Raven is coughing and selling the beating quite well here.
Thoughts: First off, this match sucked. Despite the no DQ stipulations, you still had to tag into the match. That is idiotic to say the least. And the actual wrestling was disjointed at the beginning and far too slow-paced overall. However, it was what took place after the match that was memorable.
Punk and Cabana are backstage as Punk looks into the camera to tell Raven that the reason he hates him is because when he was a kid and his dad can home smelling like beer and grew up not thinking it was strange for someone to drink all day long and says how he acted just like Raven. He then yells at Raven and said the reason he is coming after him is because he had everything handed too him but flushed it down for booze and pills then tells him that he will fight him on July 19th and promises to end his time in RoH. Tremendous promo from Punk and quite possibly his best ever. My recap does not do this justice so I included it below:
NWA-TNA Heavyweight Championship Match
Chris Sabin vs. AJ Styles
Sabin is the X Division Champion here but that title is not on the line. Match starts on the mat with both guys going back and forth. AJ goes for a Styles Clash but Sabin quickly escapes. AJ then snaps Sabin’s neck off of the top rope from the apron. Sabin catches AJ with a baseball slide then from that sends AJ into the guardrail with a hurricarana. Back inside, Sabin gets two with a flying clothesline then locks on a crossface. AJ escapes then hits a neckbreaker from a vertical suplex position that looked painful. Brainbuster gets two. Powerslam gets two. Both men then attempt to hit each other with an enziguiri at the same time and are now down. They get up and trade chops for a bit until Sabin hits a release German Suplex for two. Sabin tries a catatonic but AJ reverses it into a crucifix in a cool spot that gets two. Sabin is able to come back with a catatonic backbreaker then climbs up top and goes for a rana but AJ rolls through then hits a Styles Clash for the win (10:05) ***1/4. AJ then grabs the mic as they play Ric Flair’s entrance music as AJ talks about how a few years ago this belt was thrown in the trash but that he will respect the title as much as he does the fans, who cheer loudly and chant his name.
Thoughts: Good match that had the chance to become great if given several more minutes. This was all about establishing the NWA-TNA title as the two companies were exchanging talents at the time and the crowd was super into AJ too.
Cappetta catches up with Ki and tells him that Smokes wants to meet up with him after the show. Ki seems reluctant.
Fight Without Honor
Trent Acid vs. Homicide
Acid’s entrance is devoted to mocking Homicide. He then attacks Homicide before the match and takes him out with a quebrada. They head into the ring where Homicide fights back and suplexes him around. He then sets up a ladder in the corner and sends Acid crashing into it with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Homicide grabs a chair and sets it up on the floor. He chokes out Acid then places him on the chair and heads back in the ring so he could run out and hit a flying body press. Homicide bridges the ladder across the ring apron and guardrail then Acid gets backdropped and lands on the ladder feet first as they are both now standing on it where Acid DDT’s Homicide. Back inside, Acid throws a chair at Homicide’s face than rings around his head. He then bridges the ladder across two chairs and hits Homicide with a Blue Thunder Driver. Homicide is eventually able to fight back with a baseball slide then hits Acid with a brainbuster onto the chair. Johnny Kashmere runs into the ring and he and Acid with Homicide with the T Gimmick. Smokes then attacks Kashmere as they brawl all the way backstage. Acid gets two with the Backseat Driver as the fans chant for Homicide, who comes back with an Ace Crusher. Northern Lights Bomb gets two. He then sets up a table outside of the ring as a dueling chant breaks out. In the ring, Acid sets up a table and places Homicide up top but Homicide then takes Acid off of the top and through the table outside of the ring with an Ace Crusher in an insane spot that has the crowd going crazy. Homicide gets up and rolls Acid in the ring but can only get two. Homicide plays to the crowd then they trade Yakuza kicks that sees Acid getting a nearfall. Acid then sets up a ladder in the ring. He slams Homicide and climbs up top but Homicide gets up and pushes the ladder over as Acid dumps outside and hits the guardrail. Homicide limps outside and lays Acid across of the ladder then flies outside but crashes on a tope con hilo as Acid was able to roll away. Acid rolls Homicide back inside but only gets two. They trade strikes and more Yakuza kicks. Acid rolls through a Cop Killer attempt then gets a reverse rollup that he messed up and got the pin (19:42) ***3/4.
Thoughts: These two guys went all out and really put their bodies on the line and it made for a fantastic match. The ending looked rough but everything else was awesome and it should have made Acid into more of a star with this win but that did not happen and drugs definitely played a part in that.
After the match the lights go out as Special K’s music hits. They are beating up everyone in the ring but we can barely see as the lights are still out and the strobe lights are going. The lights come back on as Izzy and Dixie put the Backseat Boys through a table. Special K celebrates as we have learned that Homicide was carried to the back. All of the girls in the ring are making out with each other as Deranged grabs the mic as we now have a giant rave taking place in the ring.
Jim Cornette is cutting a promo with the OVW banner in the background. He talks about how he has seen the next big things throughout his career then says that he has heard RoH might be the next big thing and that he would make an impact at the August 9th show in Dayton, OH.
Back to the ring as the rave continues as the camera focuses on the girls who hang with Special K.
We then get a promo from the Carnage Crew as they hype their match against the guys from TWA. Loc then cuts a really good promo about how he worked in ECW doing all sorts of menial tasks but the company shut down before he got his chance to shine. Both guys excelled in their roles.
We are shown more of the rave as Colt Cabana has joined the “Special K Sluts.” Great.
Samoa Joe cuts a promo on his next opponent, Paul London, and how he should listened to his fans and not die by reconsidering his match. This was London’s final RoH match before leaving for the WWE.
Cappetta hears screaming behind a closed door and goes to see what it but it turns out to be Benny from the Bronx screaming a Lit from Special K. Bronx was an indy guy from the Northeast who was nothing special at all.
Final Thoughts: Despite the overly long Special K rave at the end, I thought this was a solid show. Although no memorable matches, the main event was good and the reaction to Maff’s match was nice to see. More importantly, they did some angle advancement with Punk/Raven, Homicide, and established AJ Styles as a major player. Plus the addition of new talent (Shelley and Jacobs) made this an enjoyable show.