Bayless’ Look Back: Ring of Honor Crowning a Champion – July 27, 2002


July 27, 2002

Murphy Rec Center Philadelphia, PA
Tonight, the first ever RoH Champion will be crowned in a four-way, sixty minute iron man match between Low Ki, Christopher Daniels, Spanky, and Doug Williams.

Low Ki starts with a promo about his memorable matches so far in RoH. He then tells Christopher Daniels that he will never be the champion as long as he is around and that tonight, the only thing his opponents can do is be ready.

They show a highlight package of the competitors in the Championship Match set to an awful techno sound.

Steve Corino is backstage with Simply Luscious. He tells us that the big question in RoH is what’s going on between himself and Simply Luscious. He says that the chemistry is there and that her relationship with Christopher Daniels is business as part of the Prophecy, but his business with her is personal. It ends with them kissing.

The Christopher St. Connection are talking about practicing on bananas. They open a door and see Special K dancing around (They were not yet named at this point). One of the CSC guys gets their banana stolen.

Tony Mamaluke and James Maritato are backstage when the Natural Born Sinners arrive. They ask Maritato about shooting as Mamaluke tells the Sinners that the only thing they know about shooting is with a gun in a dark alley. Homicide challenges them to a tag match in Boston (Actually, the show was in Wakefield, MA, about fifteen minutes North of Boston). Maritato says that he would never tag with Mamaluke as long as he wants to keep the FBI gimmick going; a challenge was made and the match will happen.

Jeremy Lopez vs. Tony Mamaluke

This match does not feature commentary. Lopez wrestled some matches on WCW Saturday Night in 2000 and I am shocked that he never wound up working for TNA during their infancy as basically everyone who was based out of the South got at least one TNA match. Match starts with both guys taking it to the mat. Lopez is noticeably shorter than Mamaluke. Lopez puts Mamaluke in a bow-and-arrow lock then they go back and forth on the mat until Mamaluke works a side headlock. Lopez is hanging over the bottom rope then Mamaluke hits a slingshot leg drop. Lopez blocks a suplex attempt then comes back with a discus forearm smash that gets two. Neckbreaker gets two. Lopez places Mamaluke on top but ends up getting hit with a tornado DDT. Loepz then takes down Mamaluke and locks on a crossface. Lopez then chops Mamaluke until he gets taken down by a hiptoss. Mamaluke goes to work on the arm. Lopez blocks a tornado DDT then hits Mamaluke with a double underhook DDT that gets two. Tiger Driver gets two! They trade go behinds until Mamaluke hits a double underhook DDT then turns that into a Butterfly Stretch for the win via submission (7:24) **1/4.

Thoughts: A decent enough match to start off the show. A lot of it was mat-based but still enjoyable.

Backstage, the Christopher St. Connection offer Divine Storm bananas after hitting on them. A lot of the CSC on this show tonight.

Prince Nana & Jacobs Ladder vs. Christian York & Joey Matthews w/ Alexis Laree

The crowd chants “Low Ki killed you” at Nana. Jacobs is covered in tattoos and bald. Never heard of the guy but a quick search on the web reveals that he has wrestled some death matches for IWA Mid-South several years ago. Nana gets on the mic and asks his opponents not to hit him as he has permanent injuries, but he and his partner end up jumping York and Matthews. Nana chops Matthews in the corner then the match breaks down as Nana gets hit with a double enziguiri and rolls out of the ring and heads up the aisle. Matthews puts Ladder across his shoulders as York comes off of the top with a leg drop for the win (1:45) DUD.

Thoughts: A waste of time, really. This was all just a set up for the following segment and to start a storyline for Nana, who was not getting over.

Backstage, the Christopher St. Connection try to help out Nana, who is pissed and orders them to stay away. The CSC then arrive to the ring with Allison Danger and kiss a few guys in the stands before arriving in the ring to confront York, Matthews, and Laree. The CSC then say that they find one of York & Matthews attractive but Danger says they are not “butch” enough for the CSC and that sparks a catfight between Laree and Danger. York & Matthews beat up the CSC. The crowd and commentary wasn’t as homophobic as usual. The CSC win that then go in the ring and bend Laree over their knee as Danger puts sparkles on her hand and spanks her.

The TWA guys arrive to the arena as Michael Shane acts like he is better than everyone else, including his partner Bio-Hazard, who then complains about Shane to Rudy Boy Gonzalez.

Michael Shane & Bio-Hazard vs. Paul London & Don Juan

Whomever scores the pinfall wins an RoH contract. Bio-Hazard and London start off then Shane tags as they trade stuff until London takes Shane down with a pair of armdrags. We are then shown Shane outside with his partner as London hits them with a flip dive, nearly killing himself in the process. No wonder London is the way he is today. Dude half-killed himself doing these moves. Back inside, Shane stomps Don Juan as Corino rags on TWA trainer Rudy Boy Gonzalez. London tags and Shane sends him into the corner with an overhead suplex. Bio-Hazard kills London with a back suplex that gets two. London escapes and tags Juan, who gets hit with a jawbreaker then a Northern lights suplex. Shane tags and gets two with a superplex. Bio-Hazard tags and hits a snap suplex then he and Shane keep tagging each other in. Juan gets his knees up on a springboard moonsault then makes the tag. London goes wild and busts out a dropsault and a moonsault. Shane catches London with a super kick. Bio-Hazard tags but London kicks him down. Shane breaks up a pinfall attempt then stretches out London with Charlie Haas’ old finishing move (Haas of Pain) until Juan breaks that up. The match breaks down again as London breaks up Juan’s pinfall and they argue. Shane catches Juan with an enziguiri then immediately after that London hits Bio-Hazard with a DDT – there are two pin attempts going on but Shane gets the win as he had the pin first (8:34) *3/4. After the match, Shane grabs the mic and calls out Spanky because he feels Spanky isn’t as good as him, but is in the Championship match. Shane then likens himself to his cousin, Shawn Michaels, but London grabs the mic and talks about his outstanding moves and this leads to a brawl that is eventually broken up by Rudy Boy Gonzalez. The camera follows them all to the locker room as they have a war of words. Rudy Boy then says they will face each other at the next show.

Thoughts: The match itself was disjointed but this set up the feud between Shane and London, which ended up being very good for RoH and put both guys on the map. It also helped make London a valuable commodity in the world of professional wrestling.

Da Hit Squad vs. Divine Storm

Both teams go face-to-face to start then end up brawling. In the ring, Monsta Mack catches Quiet Storm with an overhead suplex as Mafia and Divine brawl outside then come back into the ring. Divine escapes from the Burning Hammer then catches Mafia with a Death Valley Driver and a spinebuster for nearfalls. Mafia blocks a cutter from Divine then tags Mack and he destroys Divine for a bit. Storm knocks down Mack and hits a frog splash for two. Divine escapes from another Burning Hammer then gets clotheslined. Storm is tossed outside then Divine takes Mack over with an overhead suplex but tries a rana and Mack turns that into a powerbomb for the win (4:35) *1/2.

Thoughts: This felt like more of an exhibition than an actual match as it was just a collection of moves without any rhyme or reason. Despite that, it was entertaining enough and seeing how these two teams were not exactly the greatest, this style of match was probably for the best.

Backstage, Xavier wishes Low Ki luck and to keep him in mind when he wins the title.

Jay Briscoe w/ Mark Briscoe vs. James Maritato

They start the match with mat work as Briscoe does a fine job keeping up with Maritato. Briscoe takes Maritato down and applies an STF. The announcers talk about how Mark is jealous that he is too young to wrestle in Pennsylvania and, because of that,he wants Jay to lose. Maritato keeps targeting the left arm of Briscoe, who comes back with a jawbreaker that gets two. Briscoe gets caught coming off of the top with a forearm as Maritato attacks the arm. They each miss a pair of jumping attacks then Briscoe hits a Death Valley Driver. Dropkick gets two. Brisco hits the Niagara Slam then they fight on top until Briscoe gets shoved off then drilled with a missile dropkick that gets two. Briscoe counters a superplex with a front face suplex that gets two. Maritato gets powerbombed but comes back with a low dropkick. Briscoe blocks the Kiss of Death then hits a DDT for two. Mark Briscoe then heads back to the locker room, flipping off Jay who looks confused and that allows Maritato to hit the Kiss of Death for the win (8:30) **1/2.

Thoughts: Solid match. The storyline between Mark and Jay Briscoe has been excellent so far. Jay is very impressive in the ring considering his age too.

Christopher Daniels is backstage with Simply Luscious and says that the Code of Honor is based on lies and hypocrisy. He talks about the three-way between the American Dragon and Low Ki at the RoH debut show and how it took two men to beat him. The Fallen Angel gimmick was such shit and probably held Daniels back to be honest. He has loads of charisma and was stuck doing this crap that just about anyone could pull off.

Doug Williams has some kid in a stretch muffler as he talks about how this kid is going to end up just like his opponents tonight.

Bunkhouse Stampede Match

Natural Born Sinners vs. Carnage Crew

Match starts as all four competitors are brawling. The camera focuses on barbed wire wrapped around the ringpost as Devito uses it to bust open Homicide. At this point, there is actually blood on the camera lens. Outside of the ring, Devito is destroying Homicide with unprotected chairshots to the head. Good lord, these are brutal. In the ring, HC Loc busts open Boogaloo with a cowbell. These guys are damn near killing each other in this match, especially Homicide and Devito who are brawling in the crowd. Now, Devito is destroying Boogaloo outside of the ring with chairshots to his back. Homicide is now whipping Loc and Devito with a leather belt. In the ring, Homicide hits Devito with a shining wizard for two. Devito flips out of a Cop Killer attempt and takes down Homicide with a clothesline. He then sends him into the corner with an overhead suplex as he is tangled in the barbed wire. Devito takes the barbed wire and puts it on Homicide then hits him with a moonsault as both men feel the pain. Devito covers as Homicide kicks out at two. Boogaloo wraps the barbed wire around his arm then takes down Devito with a lariat. Loc is outside of the ring sitting in a chair against the guardrail as Homicide flies out with a tope and ends up in the crowd. Homicide took a crazy bump with that move. Inside of the ring, Boogaloo wraps the barbed wire around Devito’s mouth then pulls him back in a surfboard or sorts as Devito submits (9:36) ***1/2. Holy shit, was that a sick finisher. The crowd starts chanting “ROH” then Loc and Devito attack the Sinners with hubcaps until Da Hit Squad run out for the save. However, Homicide yells at Da Hit Squad for helping them out, screaming “I don’t need your fucking help” before storming off.

Thoughts: A wild, brutal brawl. Some of these chair shots were absolutely sickening and the finish was something that I have never seen before. A feud with the Sinners and Da Hit Squad seems like it is coming soon.

Spanky talks about how he has beaten Low Ki and Daniels and has sacrificed more than anyone else in wrestling as he has moved all over the world sleeping on floors trying to be a better wrestler. He closes by saying he has giving up his soul for wrestling. Spanky showed some solid promo ability here.

Danny Drake is being wheeled in by his partner, Mike Tobin. They run into Rob Feinstein and Tobin says that he has no partners in the six-man tonight. Rob gives him Dunn & Marcos as partners, which does not make Tobin happy at all.

Elimination Match

NWA-TNA X Division Championship Match

Adam Jacobs vs. David Young vs. AJ Styles

Jacobs worked in NWA Wildside but never for NWA-TNA. He has “All That” written on the back of his trunks. This starts off with all guys going back and forth. Young takes down AJ with a rana then Jacobs fucks up a twisting neckbreaker that the crowd boos. They then work a cool sequence that saw Jacobs slingshot in with a sunset flip on Young, who hit AJ with a German suplex but AJ flipped out of the move and broke up the pin. AJ hits Jacobs with a dropkick then tries a moonsault off of the apron on Young, who sidesteps the move and smashes AJ’s head against the apron, busting him open. Young hits AJ with a quebrada, then Jacobs takes them all out with a senton. Back inside, Young and Jacobs slug it out then try a double clothesline on AJ. He ducks and hits them both with the Phenomenon. The crowd loves AJ, by the way. AJ hits a moonsault kick on Jacobs but walks into a German suplex from Young. AJ attempts to hit Young with the Styles Clash but Jacobs breaks that up. AJ and Jacobs fight on top and Jacobs gets shoved off; Young hits him with a spinebuster. AJ then takes down Young with a Dragonrana that gets two. AJ dodges a charge from Young then hits him with the Spiral Tap for the pin (5:30). Jacobs immediately attacks AJ then plants him with a super kick that gets two. AJ comes back with a flying forearm as both men are down. AJ is up first and they go back and forth for a little bit until Jacobs hits him with a tornado DDT for two. Jacobs tries a rana but AJ Blocks that and turns it into a Boston Crab. AJ goes up top but Jacobs cuts him off. He tries a top rope rana but AJ blocks that and hits a Super Styles Clash for the win (8:00) **1/2. Crowd chants for AJ after the match.

Thoughts: Some good stuff here. Jacobs badly botched a neckbreaker and after that, the crowd never reacted to him, no matter what he did. He was alright after that mess up. AJ is a fan-favorite in RoH and continues to showcase loads of ability. Young had a decent showing and was a solid worker but had nothing in terms of personality.

They announce that at the next RoH show in Philadelphia on 9/21, Steve Corino will face off against Rudy Boy Gonzalez. Also, Mike Modest from Pro Wrestling NOAH will be there. Rudy Boy comes out and runs down Corino for a bit.

We are shown a one minute-long highlight package of the six-man tag between Mike Tobin & Dunn & Marcos vs. Brian XL & Izzy & Dixie. It looked terrible. After the match, a huge Rastafarian man wearing a black suit destroys the winners. This man would later be revealed as “Slugger.” I am shocked that he did not get even a look from the WWE due to his size and look alone.

Scoot Andrews vs. Xavier

This match has no commentary. Andrew starts by getting a rollup after a handshake. He stays on the attack as this match is clipped and now shows Xavier chopping away. The editing in this match is brutal by the way. Xavier is now busted open then gets hit with a leg lariat that gets two. Tiger Bomb gets two for Andrews. He tries the Force of Nature but Xavier turns that into a rollup. He then fights back and knocks down Andrews with a forearm smash. He destroys Andrews in the corner then gets two with a Splash Mountain. Andrews fights back and hits a front slam as both men are down. Andrews whiffs on a dropkick then Xavier hits him with a pumphandle slam for two. They mess up when Xavier overshoots a moonsault block. Andrews blocks a kick then hits the Force of Nature for the win (5:01) shown **.

Thoughts: What was shown was solid. Neither guy has built any momentum since the company has started though.

RoH Championship Match

Low Ki vs. Spanky vs. Doug Williams vs. Christopher Daniels

The rules are that only two men can be in the ring at the same time. The scoring system is that you gain two points for scoring a pinfall but lose one point when you are pinned. Daniels begs Low Ki to come into the ring then immediately tags Williams. Low Ki and Williams start things off on the mat. Williams hammers Low Ki while grounding him, then puts him in a butterfly lock that Ki turns into an armbar. Corino puts over the Williams vs. Dragon match from last month. Williams works an armbar as Ki tries to fight out. Ki escapes but Williams takes him down with a judo throw, and they end up in a standoff. Williams uses some wacky holds on the mat but Ki escapes and tags Spanky, who the crowd cheers for loudly. Williams turns a test of strength into a chokehold using both of Spanky’s arms. Williams grounds Spanky and grabs a front facelock but Spanky escapes. Daniels tags himself into the match. Williams grabs Daniels in an armbar then rams him into the corner a few times. Williams tags Spanky, who comes in and works the arms of Daniels. Spanky switches to a headlock and works that for a couple of minutes, but Daniels counters it with a back suplex then takes control. Daniels tags Ki and sneaks out of the ring immediately afterwards. Ki uses a figure four necklock on Spanky but that is quickly broken up, and Spanky makes the tag to Williams, who works the leg of Ki and softens him up before tagging Daniels, who quickly beats on Ki until tagging Spanky. Ki manages to put on a dragon sleeper but Spanky slithers out and tags Daniels. Ki floats over on a slam attempt and chops him down, but Daniels quickly takes control. Williams tags, but Daniels kicks him down. Williams no-sells some headbutts then takes down Daniels and puts him in an armbreaker. He targets the arm some more then lays into Daniels with European uppercuts. Daniels kicks Williams when he ducks his head then cheapshots Ki. Williams hits a lariat for two before tagging Spanky, who grabs a nearfall with a discus forearm smash. Spanky works the arm of Daniels, which has been targeted all throughout the match. Daniels comes back with a neckbreaker then drags Spank into the middle of the ring. He tags Williams, and he puts Spanky in a surfboard. Spanky escapes and tags Ki, who puts Williams in a reverse chinlock. Williams breaks free and goes to work on Ki’s leg. These two start striking each other on the mat as Williams has Ki in a leg lock. Daniels runs in and stomps Ki before the ref backs him away. Williams then puts Ki in the stretch muffler (Brock Lock) then tags Spanky. These two have a slugfest, but Spanky stops that with a dropkick to the leg of Ki. Spanky hits a shinbreaker and goes back to work on the leg. Ki fights back with a vicious kick to the back off the head that gets two. Daniels cheapshots Spanky from the apron as Ki gets a nearfall with a suplex. He hangs Spanky from the top rope then kicks him hard. Daniels tags himself in and beats on Spanky. Suplex gets two. They take it to the mat; Daniels wins that then grabs a neck vise as Donnie B lets us know that Donovan Morgan will face the American Dragon at the next show. Ki tags himself in and chops the shit out of Daniels. He then kicks him, but Daniels ducks and chop blocks his leg. Daniels cheapshots Spanky again, but Ki grabs him as Spanky heads up top. Daniels dodges Spanky’s missile dropkick that hits Ki. Daniels then goes for the Last Rites, but Williams hits him with a flying clothesline as the match breaks down. Williams hits Daniels with a Tornado DDT then Spanky hits him with the Sliced Bread #2. Ki then immediately hits Spanky with a release tiger suplex followed by Daniels hitting Ki with a Flatliner. All four men are down with the fans going crazy. Ki pushes Spanky off of the top rope then Williams gets tossed outside. Ki tries a kick, but Daniels hits him with another chop block, setting up for the Last Rites and the first pinfall of the evening (25:59)

(Daniels 2, Spanky 0, Williams 0, Ki -1)

Daniels tries another pin, but Ki is able to kick out. Spanky tags and dropkicks Daniels for two. Daniels fights back and tags Williams, who works a neck vise. He targets the neck, but Spanky comes back with a jawbreaker before tagging Daniels. Williams works the arm on the mat then tags Spanky. Daniels hits Spanky with a DDT for a nearfall then targets the neck. Spanky is able to lock on an armbar then tags Williams who also targets the arm. Daniels now is in control and works on the neck. After a visible spot call by Daniels, he hits Williams with a spinebuster. He tags Spanky who immediately covers Williams but only gets two. Spanky escapes a rear choke hold with an eye rake then Williams tags Daniels for some reason. Daniels takes Ki off of the apron, but Spanky is able to grab a few nearfalls then tags Williams, who goes back to work on the arm of Daniels. Spnaky tags Daniels and hits Williams with a pair of dropkicks. Daniels hits Williams with a backbreaker and holds him over his knee as Spanky comes in with a tope con hilo. Williams fights off both men then hits Spanky with the Chaos Theory, but Daniels breaks up the pin then hits Williams with the Last Rites and turns that into a Koji Clutch. Ki breaks that up with a double stomp from the top rope. Daniels backs into Ki, who was on the apron, then gets chopped and Ki tags himself into the match. Williams has Ki in the Gory Special and rams him into the corner a few times before taking him down with a dropkick as the fans go nuts. He puts Ki on the top rope. Ki fights back and comes off the top with a rana, but Williams rolls through that and puts Ki in the Triangle Sleeper then slams him down. Ki works the arm, but Williams eventually lifts up Ki and slams him down. Ki hits double chops and a forearm smash before sending Williams into the corner. Spanky blind tags himself into the match as Williams hits the Chaos Theory on Ki, who flips out of the move and takes down Spanky with a Dragon Sleeper and Spanky taps out (41:51).

(Daniels 2, Low Ki 1, Williams 0, Spanky -1)

Daniels tags himself into the match and goes right after Ki. He hits a springboard moonsault that gets two then puts on a leg lock that Spanky breaks up after tagging himself into the match. Spanky then hits Daniels with a flying forearm but misses a frog splash. Spanky manages to catch Daniels with a pedigree that gets two. Daniels tags Williams, who hits Spanky with three consecutive facebusters, but that still cannot score a pinfall. Daniels tags himself in but Williams takes him down with a flying knee smash. Ki sneaks in and covers Daniels, but Williams breaks that up with a flying knee drop. Spanky then takes them both down with a double clothesline. Spanky fails to hit Williams with the Sliced Bread #2 then Ki tags himself into the match and repeatedly headbutts Williams. Daniels tags and hits an STO then the Best Moonsault Ever but that only gets two as Daniels is in disbelief. Williams backdrops Daniels to the floot but Spanky hits him with a crossbody after tagging himself into the match. Ki tags Spanky and ends up putting Williams in the Hanging Dragon but has to break before the five count. Daniels comes as the match breaks down. Spanky and Daniels both spill outside as Ki hits Williams with the Phoenix Splash for the pin (48:45).

(Low Ki 3, Daniels 2, Spanky -1, Williams -1)

Daniels and Ki trade chops until Daniels hits an uranage. Ki rolls away from the BME but comes off of the top as Daniels gets his knee up just in time. Both men are down until Daniels tags Spanky. He quickly covers Ki but just gets two. Ki then blocks a Sliced Bread #2 attempt and hits Spanky with a tombstone piledriver, but Daniels breaks up the pin and tosses Ki outside. Daniels hits Spanky with a reverse Death Valley Driver then Williams tags himself in and piledrives Daniels, who gets his foot on the ropes. Williams then catches Ki’s Tidal Wave and turns that into a sitout powerbomb, but Spanky breaks up the pin. Ki tosses Spanky off the top then hits him with a 450 splash but is in pain and rolls outside. Daniels throws Ki inside then tags in the match, but Spanky hits him with a DDT and a frog splash that Ki breaks up at two. Ki tags Daniels, but Spanky hits a back suplex and that almost gets a pin. Williams trips up Spanky, who flies out and hits him with a plancha. Daniels is inside and hits a front Russian leg sweep that gets two. Ki charges at Daniels but gets caught with a Blue Thunder Bomb as the fans are on their feet. Williams and Spanky are on the floor outside as an “ROH” chant breaks out. Ki blocks a Last Rites attempt, but Daniels puts him in a dragon sleeper in the middle of the ring. Ki starts punching him in the face, as the crowd counts down the final seconds of the match. Ki counters the Dragon Sleeper with the Last Rites as time runs out and Low Ki becomes the first ever Ring of Honor Champion (60:00) ****1/2. Daniels complains that while he actually pinned Ki in the match, he is not the champion. The crowd then yells at Daniels to shake Ki’s hand.

Thoughts: Excellent match and a “Match of the Year” candidate for sure. The last several minutes were a bit messy as the rules seemingly changed to allow guys to enter the match without tagging. I thought the story-telling was tight too, with guys working over a certain part of the body and the side-story between Daniels and Ki. Each guy looked like a star in this match too.

Backstage, Ki breaks down and is on the floor. He then sits in a chair with the RoH title belt over his shoulder and dedicated his win to Russ Haas (Brother of Charlie Haas who passed away several months before this match of a heart attack. They wrestled together for Maryland Championship Wrestling) and tells Charlie that it is for him too when he gets a hold of the tape. I thought this whole segment was excellent and made the match look even more meaningful and the belt look more prestigious.

Backstage, Mark teases Jay about losing his match. Jay then shoves Mark into the wall, who says that he is not allowed to wrestle here in Pennsylvania. Jay then reminds Mark that next month in Boston (Again, it was Wakefield) they do not have a commission, and he challenges him to a match. Mark accepts, saying that Jay will just end up losing again.

Simply Luscious consoles Daniels backstage, who sees the referee and pins him against the wall and threatens him for how he called the match.

Final Thoughts: The best RoH show to date. I thought the Championship match was awesome and gave the belt prestige as a result, which was really the main goal of the show. Not all of the matches were good, but there was an entertaining Bunkhouse Match and the company is starting to build feuds and improve character development. Sure, there were some segments that were painful and overall, the tag team division is garbage, but top to bottom, a solid show.