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ROH YEAR ONE ARCHIVE: A LOOK BACK AT RING OF HONOR'S INFANCY IN 2002

By Mike Johnson on 2004-12-21 11:00:00


ROH ROUND ROBIN CHALLENGE

LOW KI AND AMERICAN DRAGON TEAR DOWN PHILLY
Mike Johnson
March 30, 2002

I attended the second effort by RF Video's Ring of Honor Saturday night and thought it was a good show highlighted by an amazing final match. The show was marred by an unfortunate injury, and while I don't think the second effort touched the emotion of their debut event, was still a good show by any measure of the independent circuit.

The show opened up (on time again, which means that other than Jim Kettner's ECWA, ROH is the only promotion I have ever attended to open the last two shows I've been at one time including WWF) with ring announcer Stephen DeAngelis announcing the promotion's "Code of Honor." I personally like the rules as the idea is to make the promotion stand out from others and give them a theme, but I thought announcing that the workers had to shake hands, etc. wasn't needed. I love the return of the tag rope though!

Opening match saw Christopher Daniels defeat American Dragon via submission in the first match of the Round Robin Challenge. Great opener, although details aren't fresh in my mind. That's my fault for not bringing my tape recorder to the show.

Prince Nana came out with Towel Boy Eric Tuttle and his new valet Simply Luscious. Luscious is from the Texas Wrestling Academy and has a very interesting charisma to her. The last time I noticed that in a female was Lita when she was working for ECW as Miss Congeniality. Luscious wore her hair in pigtails and all I could think of was Pepper Parks who just worked the Super 8 tournament. Nana went off the on the crowd and making fun of the fact that ROH wasn't supposed to have gimmicks. The promotion made a point to play up on their website and program that Nana is actually a Prince in the bloodline of a tribe in Africa. If you remember the debut show, you know what was coming. Da Hit Squad hit the ring and destroyed Nana and Towel Boy as they are doing a deal where they destroy gimmicks and valets. The Christopher Street Connection (who got massacred at the debut) came out to attack Da Squad, but instead had Towel Boy and Luscious thrown from the ring at them in the aisle. The Hit Squad was over huge.

Joey Matthews & Christian York beat CW Anderson & his partner, "any jobber" Elax. Elax works JAPW as the Exploited Child and looks like an absolutely goof in the tradition of Adam Sandler in the film The Waterboy. Anderson has dropped 60 lbs. Since the end of ECW and looked tremendous in the ring. The storyline here was that Anderson felt he could defeat Joey and Christian easily on his own and could have anyone as his partner. Of course, Anderson ended up being defeated. Anderson put over that Joey and Christian were a good tag team but he was a great singles competitor and challenged both to singles matches on 4/27. Weird that they did that after this show was based around three performers working twice each. Anderson gave Elax a spinebuster after the match to make sure he got his heat back for the loss. Elax could be a really funny deal as a goofball idiot character.

Xavier defeated James Maritato (formerly ECW's Little Guido doing a completely serious character). Really good match. The crowd seemed surprised and happy with Xavier's win.

Homicide and Boogalou beat The Boogie Knights (who have the coolest theme music ever). Homicide was just destroying Mike Tobin with a rubber chicken. After getting their revenge as promised on the Boogies, they were attacked by H.C. Loc (the ref they destroyed last month) and his tag team partner Sledge. Sledge looked beyond green and killed the segment. The angle with Loc and company didn't get over at all.

Low Ki defeated Christopher Daniels in a really good match. Daniels played heel by not shaking Ki's hand after the loss and put over that he won't get back in the ring with him until it's for the promotion's championship, which is a big thing they will be building to over the next few events.

Hey, the 15 minute intermission was only 15 minutes. What are these guys thinking?

RING OF HONOR ROUND ROBIN CHALLENGE VIDEO THOUGHTS

I watched the second Ring of Honor video, "The Round Robin Challenge" this past weekend. As a product it's way better than the promotion's first video, and as an event, it comes off much better on tape than it did live, as the flow of the live event was hurt by an injury to Chris Marvel and a poor match involving the SATs (thats comes off way better on video). If you are a fan of athletic wrestling, or good logical booking, you should find a copy of the ROH events as soon as you can as there were no less than 4 or 5 good to great matches on the show.

*Spanky is a star in the making. His backstage segments on the tape, particularly the one involving PA State Commission rep Frank Talent, is simply priceless. I don't want to give away the segment, but having met Talent on several occasions, I am sure he was serious in his comments as he addressed the locker room.

*Someone in the promotion loves Simply Luscious since she's seen no less than 5 or 6 times in segments. Can't say I blame them though, as she's farther along than Lita was at this point in her career.

*The promotion has a great resource in Rudy Boy Gonzales' Texas Wrestling Academy (formerly Shawn Michaels' school, although Gonzales did all the training). Every time they bring in a new worker from the school, they have been nothing less than solid, and at times spectacular. Paul London, Simply Luscious, Spanky, American Dragon, and Michael Shane are all great talents. I'm looking forward to checking out Biohazard on 6/22.

*The Chris Marvel vs. Paul London match was really shaping up to be a nice match before Marvel broke his ankle taking an Asai Moonsault. Steve Corino (who wasn't as "on" here with commentary as he was on the first tape) made a bunch of stupid remarks about the break, which I didn't care for. At least I can take some solace (some, but not much) knowing that the promotion took care of Marvel and paid for a flight home after he had his surgery since he had driven close to 30 hours to get to Philly from Texas.

*The coolest theme music on the indy scene is the Boogie Knights coming out to "The Best" which is the music from the film Karate Kid during the tournament. Just Plain awesome.

*I don't care for the cursing on the backstage promos, but I'll tolerate it as long as they keep the ring mic time down (like they have thus far). One thing I hate during independent shows is when there is an endless procession of workers talking on the mic in match after match.

*Towel Boy Eric Tuttle is lucky he didn't destroy his hip taking a bump over the top rope to the floor, but if he hadn't grabbed the top rope as the Hit Squad tossed him, he would have cleared them and have been caught properly by those on the floor waiting to catch him. Just a brutal bump.

*The flow of the show on this second outing isn't as crisp as the first, but when they open up with a fantastic Chris Daniels vs. American Dragon match, you're really setting the bar high to continue. The closing bout of Low Ki vs. American Dragon is nothing short of phenomenal.

*It's a really entertaining tape if you like wrestling as an athletic contest and stiff action. The booking is really simple, but at the same time you can see they are developing characters. Gabe Sapolsky has done a good job thus far. I'm looking forward to seeing where the promotion is in 6 months creatively.

ROH Round Robin Challenge can be ordered at ROHWrestling.com.


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