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ROH YEAR THREE ARCHIVE: LOOKING BACK AT RING OF HONOR'S MOST CONTROVERSIAL YEAR

By Mike Johnson on 2004-12-28 20:40:00


ROH GLORY BY HONOR III

RING OF HONOR GLORY BY HONOR 3 LIVE REPORT FEATURING DEBUT OF MICK FOLEY
by Mike Johnson

Ring of Honor presented the third annual Glory by Honor event on Saturday 9/11 at the Rexplex in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The focus of the show going in was the debut of former WWF champion Mick Foley, who is going to be a regular for the next few events.

Before the show opened, the entire roster came to the ring and held a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11. Dan Maff took the mic and reminded everyone of what families had lost that night, that many of the wrestlers working the show were from the New York City area, and said that if the United States can make it through 9/11, it can make it through anything. It was a nice, classy moment, although a comment later in the night would blemish it.

*Jimmy Rave pinned Special K's Dixie with the Styles Clash in a decent opener. For some reason, putting on one of Prince Nana's robes has injected some charisma into Rave. After the match, Nana announced the newest member of the Embassy was Mick Foley, who didn't come out and two attempted at producing him. Nana said that he would go in the back and get Foley himself and bring him out and everyone left.

*Jay Lethal pinned Matt Stryker in a match where Lethal (who has been in a slump) would have lost his job if he lost. By losing the match, Stryker "lost his plane ticket" to the ROH East Coast shows, so he would have to drive if he worked them. The crowd was all over Stryker, who is a good technical wrestler but never escaped the Field of Honor debacle last December. Lethal looked great here, including a clubbing clothesline that would have made the Dynamite Kid wince. Stryker took the mic after the show and tried to blame all the Internet fans for writing about him like cowards, and said he was going back to the Midwest where fans appreciate real wrestlers. Stryker flubbed his line, so the crowd was all over him even worse.

*Trent Acid won a really fun Six Man Mayhem match which also included Angel Dust, Ace Steel, Kahagas, Fast Eddie and Izzy. Special K had dissension at ringside because Izzy had his new girlfriend Lacey with him. Fast Eddie hit some impressive moves here. This was a really fun and fast mix of insane spots, which the crowd ate up.

*Austin Aries came to the ring and demanded Mick Foley come out and face Generation Next. Foley didn't come out, so Aries challenged Punk to come out for their match. Punk did. CM Punk pinned Austin Aries in a disappointing match. Although the two have worked together a few times before and there was the Generation Next vs. Second City Saints storyline behind it, it never took off and at this point, brought the crowd down quite a bit. Punk's entrance is awesome. Late in the match, the referee was bumped. The crowd booed the hell out of that. Roderick Strong and Jack Evans hit the ring. Ace Steel made the save and everyone brawled to the back. Alex Shelley hit the ring and he and Aries worked over Punk. Steve Corino, in street clothes, and his young boys hit the ring as a surprise and Corino brawled with Shelley. The place popped huge for Corino's appearance. In all the madness, Punk rolled up Aries for the pin. CM Punk took the mic and told Generation Next that, "You just found out when you f*** with me, you f*** with my friends, too." Gary Michael Cappetta jumped in the ring and said that the last time anyone saw Corino in ROH, it was the barbed wire match against Homicide last November (which saw Corino win, then walk out of the company).

Before Corino could answer, Homicide's music hit and he and Julius Smokes came to the ring, setting the stage for the low point of the evening. Homicide got in the ring and said that he couldn't believe that Corino was back and said that Corino was right about a few things he said last year -- that the ROH promotion was crap, that everyone who worked for it was crap, and that the ROH fans are crap. He called the fans Internet marks and ripped apart well known fan Paul "Green Lantern Fan" Sosnowski by name. The crowd started chanting "Homocide" at him. The angle closed with Homicide wanting to shake Steve Corino's hand but Punk wouldn't allow it. Homicide warned him that he has his own problems with Generation Next, but would have to deal with the Rottweilers if he put his nose in Homicide's business. Corino and Punk walked out as Homicide demanded Corino get back in the ring. The angle was flat by that point. Corino is back here as a regular when his ZERO-ONE commitments allow.

*Danny Maff and BJ Whitmer defeated Flash Venom in a hot two minute match. The idea here was that Allison Danger brought in the IWA stars as bounty hunters to destroy her former team. The idea is that Danger refuses to realize that the Prophecy is dead and would rather destroy her former charges rather than see them succeed without her. Danger began ripping on everyone and demanded Mick Foley come out to take out Maff and Whitmer. Foley came out to a monster pop, with the idea that he was tired of everyone bringing his name up. Foley ripped apart Danger and told her to leave the ring.

Foley said that everyone was wondering why he was here at Ring of Honor. The Embassy came out and they all hugged Foley. Prince Nana named him as the newest member of the Embassy. Foley said that wasn't the case and it ended with them attacking him. Generation Next hit the ring, looking to get a piece of Foley as well. Maff and Whitmer made the save. With the heels run off, Foley said that the reason he came to ROH was that he was invited a few weeks ago and asked to see the product. He said that he saw moves that made his say, "Holy sh**" so he rewound the tape and he said it again. He said that if he had any athletic ability left, he would be stealing those moves. Foley said he saw something more than just great wrestling when he watched the tapes, he saw the future of wrestling. He put over Jay Briscoe for fighting for the title as he nearly "bled to death" (Samoa Joe Steel Cage match, 3/13). He put over BJ Whitmer and Danny Maff as a great team who work hard and said that as far as he was concerned, ROH stood for "Ring of Hardcore." The fans popped and they went to the back.

*Bryan Danielson forced Alex Shelley to submit with Cattle Mutilation in a really good 20 minute bout with lots of submissions and hard hitting strikes. Danielson came out in a robe that wouldn't have looked out of place on a Jedi Master. This was probably the strongest match on the show so far. After the match, Danielson said that he was looking for ROH champion Samoa Joe so he could finally get his title match and that he wanted to challenge someone who was coming to ROH in November, Jushin Liger. The fans popped huge for the challenge.

*ROH Pure champion John Walters forced Nigel McGuinness to submit to retain the title in another decent match. Walters finished off McGuiness with his lungblower three times (pulls the competitor backward across his knees), then cinched in a submission hold while crossing McGuiness' arms around his collarbone. McGuiness finally tapped and raised Walters' hand afterwards.

*ROH champion Samoa Joe pinned Doug Williams. They did a lot of mat work early. Joe hit his Muscle Buster on Williams, who kicked out, which was surprising since that's put away a lot of names. Joe nailed a clothesline for the pin. Solid match.

*ROH Tag Team champions The Havana Pitbulls retained their titles in a Four Team Ultimate Endurance match where the stipulations changed with every elimination. The match also included BJ Whitmer & Danny Maff, The Carnage Crew, and Roderick Strong & Jack Evans. The first fall was a submission match. Maff and Whitmer brawled a lot with the Crew. HC Loc had a submission on Whitmer, but Maff "knocked him out" with a chair to the head. Maff and Whitmer nailed DeVito's knees with chairs as he was pulled to the ringpost. DeVito tapped out to a double crab. The match turned into a Scramble Match with some cool dives. Maff destroyed Evans with the Burning Hammer. By this point, the fans wanted to see Maff and Whitmer win the titles. The final segment was a title match. Reyes and Whitmer just peppered each other with strikes and kicks. Reyes scored the clean pin with a kick to the head. The crowd just deflated, hoping to see a title change. Still, an awesome last match.

Allison Danger came out and told the Pitbulls she'd do or pay anything if they took out Maff and Whitmer and made them bleed. They started working over Maff and Whitmer. Generation Next and the Embassy both hit the ring and laid out Maff and Whitmer as well. Mick Foley returned and sprayed the ring with a fire extinguisher. This allowed Maff and Whitmer a chance to clean house and they cleared the ring with Foley's help. The crowd chanted Foley's name. Foley said that he had an admission to make, and that was that he didn't do anything tonight. He asked the fans to give a big round of applause for everyone who worked the show and the fans chanted ROH. They played Foley's old theme music, "Born to Be Wild" to close the show. A fun ending.

Notes: The crowd looked to be in the 850-900 range, which was about what the promotion has been doing in the venue, so it doesn't appear Foley added more fans than usual to the house....The promotion broke its merchandise record on 9/11, which was helped greatly by the fact that the company is now accepting credit cards at the shows. The had two professional looking signs advertising that they were accepting credit card payments at the show....They ran an angle after the show where Dunn and Marcos were attacked by Special K....There were issues with some of the ringside seats being double sold last night. The promotion tried to make good by offering refunds and comps for bleachers seats, free DVDs, and also putting some fans upstairs in the balcony section where the hard camera is located. It was human error that caused the mistake and the company tried to make good to the best of their ability....The promotion had stronger than usual security to prevent those outside the inner circle from entering the locker room, partially because Mick Foley was debuting and partially to prevent word on Steve Corino's debut from leaking out....The promotion quickly sold out of their first and second row seats for the 11/6 return to the Rexplex and has very few third row seats left. For details, visit www.ROHWrestling.com.

ROH GLORY BY HONOR 3 REPORT
by Eric Stashin

The show opened with all the wrestlers coming down to the ring for a moment of silence to honor 9/11 with “America the Beautiful”. After that, all of the wrestlers empty the ring, staying on the outside, except for Dan Maff. Maff talks about what happened on 9/11, saying that if we could get through that, we could get through anything. He also talks about how parents are not supposed to bury their children.

Jimmy Rave w/The Embassy defeated Dixie w/Special K. Rave controls much of the match. Towards the end, Prince Nana gets on a microphone, just talking trash. Rave ended up grabbing the victory with a Styles Clash. Nana just continued talking as The Embassy got in the ring. He says that The Embassy is on a roll, which he says is going to continue as it’s signed, sealed and delivered that Mick Foley is the newest member of The Embassy. He then invites Foley to come out to the ring, but he never shows. Nana says that Foley just has some butterflies, but they’ll bring him out later on the show.

Jobs are on the line (if Lethal loses he’s gone from ROH, if Stryker loses he no longer gets ticket to the East Coast shows): Jay Lethal defeated Matt Stryker. The match started with Stryker cheapshoting Lethal during a handshake. As the match continued, the two would really light each other up with chops. The end of the match saw Stryker lock in an anklelock, but Lethal countered the move into a roll-up to score the three count. The two would shake hands after the match. After Lethal left, Stryker got on the microphone says that everyone was happy that he lost. He says that he always gives 110% in ROH, but the fans hide behind their keyboards and trash him. He then says that he’s going to go back to the Midwest where they respect a wrestler like him.

Six-Man Mayhem: Trent Acid defeated Fast Eddie, Angel Dust w//Special K, Izzy w/Lacey, Ace Steele and Kahagas. This was a tremendous match with too many highspots to keep track of. One of them saw Acid on all fours on the floor, with Izzy standing on his back. Izzy then leaped into the air, nailing Angel Dust, who had been perched on the top rope with a kick to the head. We also got what I like to call the train wreck spot, where the wrestlers take turns doing dives to the outside. Izzy, Acid and Eddie all execute dives to the other wrestlers on the outside. The finish of the match saw all six men in the ring, with each man hitting some big moves. One saw Eddie on the top rope, holding Angel Dust in position for a fallaway slam. Izzy then hops behind them, locking Eddie in a hurricarana sending both flying off the top rope. Ace Steele would then hit a huge neck breaker off the top rope on Izzy. The finish saw Acid grab the victory with an inverted DDT on Angel Dust. Special K stayed in the ring, with Lacey yelling at Angel Dust. Lacey and Becky Bayless began shoving each other, with Special K getting in between them, keeping them apart.

CM Punk defeated Austin Aries. Prior to the match, Aries got on the microphone and on behalf of Generation Next, invited Mick Foley to come down to the ring to wrestle him one-on-one. When Foley didn’t come out, Aries said that Foley knew he couldn’t handle a true wrestler, so let’s see how CM Punk can do. This was a tremendous bout, with the wrestlers trading scientific holds. There were a lot of arm bars during the early stages, with Punk really going to town on Aries arm and shoulder. Punk would eventually go to the outside, with Aries nailing him with a drop kick through the ropes. Punk would get back in the ring, with Aries going for a slingshot senton splash, but Punk got his knees up. Later on, Punk would try a slingshot splash to the outside, but Aries got out of the way, with Punk crashing into the guardrail. Later on in the bout, Aries would hit a slingshot corkscrew dive to the floor. The end of the bout saw the referee get knocked out, leading to Roderick Strong and Jack Evans hitting the ring. Ace Steele would quickly come down, battling with the two men to the back. Moments later, Alex Shelley would hit the ring and help Aries in attacking Punk when Steve Corino made his return to the promotion. He chased off Shelley, leading to Punk rolling up Aries to score the pinfall. Punk and Corino then embraced after the match. Punk got on the microphone and said that if you messed with him, you’d have to mess with his friends as well.

Gary Michael Cappetta would get into the ring and ask Steve Corino why he returned to the promotion. At this point, Homicide and Julius Smokes made their way down to the ring. Corino and Homicide briefly stared each other down, when Homicide the microphone from Cappetta and begins to talk about the last time Corino was with the promotion. He then tells Corino that he was right, ROH, the champion and the fans all suck. Homicide asks Corino to shake his hand, but it never happens. Homicide gets in the face of Punk, with Homicide telling him to mind his own business. Corino would end up leaving the ring, with Homicide screaming at him if he came back, he’d make him deaf in his other ear. Homicide would then challenge Cappetta to get into the ring, before he went to the floor and chased the photographers around the ring, including turning over a table and slamming chairs on the floor.

Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer defeated Slash Venom & Chicano w/Allison Danger. Prior to the match, Danger got on the microphone and says that she gave Maff & Whitmer everything and they left her. She then tells Venom & Chicano to kill them and they instantly attack. They really laid into Maff & Whitmer, including consistently throwing the head first into the guardrail and using chairs. Venom would set a chair up in the ring and use it to springboard off the top rope to nail a corkscrew dive on Maff, who was in the front row of the crowd. Back in the ring, only moments later, Whitmer hit Chicano with a t-bone suplex to score the three count.

After the match, Danger got on the microphone and trashed Venom & Chicano asking what that was. She said she gave them a chance to be stars, as the two walk off. She continues talking, when Maff & Whitmer corner her. She calls to Foley for help, who then makes his debut for the promotion. Foley gets a microphone and talks about how Danger is mildly attractive and gets a few cheap pops. He then tells her to get her mildly attractive face out of the ring, because she’s not the reason he’s there. The Embassy then came down to the ring, with Foley shaking their hands and hugging Prince Nana. Foley then starts laughing because they thought it meant he was part of The Embassy. He says that he’s just a good hugger and he wanted to show it to the crowd. The Embassy then attacks Foley, but Foley takes them all out until Jimmy Rave sneaks behind him and nails a low blow. Generation Next then comes down to the ring, as everyone begins stomping away at Foley before Maff & Whitmer, who had been on the outside, get back into the ring and help clear it. Foley says he received a call from someone a few weeks ago about coming in to work for them an he asked them to send him a few tapes and DVD’s. He says that he was impressed by the moves and if he was in his prime and had some athletic ability, he would have stolen them. He says that’s not why he was there though, it was because of the attitude. He said he saw guys like Maff & Whitmer give it everything they had for the fans, like he used to do when he broke into the business. He then said that ROH equaled Ring of Hardcore.

We then got a quick intermission.

Bryan Danielson defeated Alex Shelley. This was a great technical match with both men looking very good.. Danielson was extremely impressive, locking in numerous beautiful submission holds including a single crab, stepping on the head of Shelley and a Mexican surfboard before changing over into a dragon sleeper. Shelley was selling an arm injury throughout the match, not allowing him to pick Danielson up for a few moves. The finish of the match saw with Danielson locking in a unique submission, putting him in a double underhook before flipping him onto his neck to score the victory. After the match, Danielson offered Shelley a handshake numerous times, but Shelley would continually come back into the ring before walking out again. Danielson got a microphone and said that Generation Next were sore losers. He also said that Samoa Joe had been ducking him, but he wanted to step into the ring with. He also said that he wanted to step into the ring with Jushin Liger.

Pure Wrestling Title: John Walters defeated Nigel McGuiness to retain the title. This was another tremendous wrestling match, with the men trading technical holds. At one point, McGuiness had Walters in a neck wrench and refused to break the hold, despite Walters slamming him down a few times. Walters would then get an armbar, like McGuiness, refusing to break the hold even though McGuiness tried to throw him around a little bit. McGuiness was the first to use a rope break, using two before Walters was forced to use one. Walters, though, would use two real quick, leaving each man with one rope break. Walters would hit some moves from the top rope, including a hurricarana. McGuiness hit a beautiful neck breaker, with Walters feet draped over the top rope. The finish of the match saw Walters cross McGuiness arms and hit three consecutive drop down back breakers, burying his knees in McGuiness’ back, before keeping him in the cross-armed submission for the victory. Post-match saw McGuiness put the belt on Walters as he celebrated.

World Title: Samoa Joe defeated Doug Williams to retain the title. This was a hard-hitting affair between the two men. Williams took the advantage early on, grounding the big man, but Joe would eventually grab control of the match. On the outside, he had Williams seated on a chair next to the guardrail, when he charged at Williams and nailed him with a knee to the head, sending it crashing into the guardrail. The finish of the match saw Joe have Williams cradled on his shoulder, before dropping him to the canvas in a brain buster type move. He followed that up soon after with a clothesline that nearly decapitated Williams to get three count. The two shook hands and embraced after the match.

Ultimate Endurance: The Rottweilers (Ricky Reyes & Rocky Romero) defeated Dan Maff & BJ Whitmer, The Carnage Crew (Loc & Devito) and Generation Next (Jack Evans & Roderick Strong) to retain the titles. The first fall of the match was a Tap Out Match. Whitmer took the brunt of the offense during this first fall, with Maff having to come into the ring and break up numerous submission holds to save his partner. Fights would then break out all over the place, including Maff holding Evans, before tossing him over the top rope, out on top of a group of wrestlers. Maff would bring a chair into the ring and throw it at Devito, who no sold the move. Maff then took the chair and waffled him with it. Maff and Whitmer would then set Loc up with a leg on each side of the steel pole, when each got a chair and nailed a leg simultaneously. They would then pull him into the center of the ring and each lock on a single leg crab to score the submission victory.

The second fall was a Tag Team Scramble Match, with action going on all over the place. At one point, Evans attempted a springboard 360 splash to the floor, but ended up crashing into the barrier. The finish saw Maff grab Evans and nail the Burning Hammer to eliminate Generation Next.

The final fall was a Tag Team Title Match. All four men were brawling, both inside and outside the ring. Whitmer got a few near falls, including a surprise roll-up, but was unable to score the victory. Whitmer ultimately got nailed with a kick to the head to score the victory.

Allison Danger then came down to the ring and told them she’d pay them anything they wanted if they would take Maff & Whitmer out. Prince Nana and the rest of The Embassy, as well as Generation Next, hit the ring and began helping the Tag Team Champions work over the two men. Finally, Mick Foley hit the ring with a fire extinguisher, helping to force most of the men scrambling. Maff & Whitmer then hit a few moves to clear the ring of everyone but Jimmy Rave, who fell victim to a low blow and a double-arm DDT from Foley. Foley then got on the microphone and talked about honoring the victims of 9/11 and how he felt that wrestling was an American art form.

Final Thoughts:

This was a tremendous show from top to bottom. I have to give all the credit to the wrestlers and those involved behind the scenes, as they put together a show they could be proud of, like ROH usually does.

The return of Steve Corino was a great surprise and it got the crowd really going. I’m curious to see where they are going to go from here with him and Homicide, as those two had a tremendous feud prior to Corino’s hiatus from the promotion.

The Six-Man Mayhem concept is a great one, as those matches really seem to get the crowd going, big time. This one was no different as all six men really looked good in the bout, with no one really standing out any more then another. They simply were all tremendous. They also did a nice job of furthering the problems between Special K after the match.

It’s a tough choice for me for match of the night, but I would probably have to pick CM Punk vs. Austin Aries, with Bryan Danielson and Alex Shelley being a close second. Both of these matches were tremendous wrestling matches and told very good stories in the ring. Also up there would have to be the Pure Wrestling Title Match, as both Walter and McGuiness looked tremendous.

While the matches themselves were good, I did think the finishes of the last two matches were not the best. It’s almost nit-picking though, like I need to find something to say, but both these finishes seemed to come out of no where and were awfully anticlimactic. It definitely didn’t spoil what was a tremendous night of wrestling.

Finally, I need to talk about Mick Foley’s appearance. While I thought he may be a bit more involved then he was, just having him there really made the show something special for the promotion. As always, Foley really delivered on the microphone throughout the night. I was surprised they paired him, more-or-less, with Maff & Whitmer, but it’s a nice rub for those two. I also liked the fact that they teased Foley coming out earlier in the show, as it made it a bit of a surprise when he finally did appear. With Foley signed to appear on two more shows for the promotion, I’m curious where they are going to go from here.

It was a tremendous evening of wrestling, to say the least, with numerous matches being technical gems. Through in some high-flying spots in the Six-Man Mayhem, a little bit of brutality with Maff & Whitmer and some speeches from Foley, and you have yourself a night to remember.

You can order ROH Glory By Honor III at ROHWrestling.com.


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