Bayless’ Look Back: Ring of Honor: Honor Invades Boston – August 24th, 2002


August 24, 2002

From the Americal Civic Center in Wakefield, MA (Not exactly Boston but close enough I suppose)

Your hosts are Donnie B. and Steve Corino

Low Ki cuts a promo about how he gave it his all, even losing 10 lbs in the one-hour iron man match just for the love of this sport. He says that this is his life and the RoH belt signals his love for professional wrestling. He then tells AJ Styles that he has the utmost respect for him but he gave his heart and soul to become champion, and he will prove to Styles and everyone else that it is not the size of the fighter but the size of the fight that he will bring.

Quiet Storm vs. Amazing Red

They start out with an over-choreographed lucha sequence that did not look all that great. Well, this stuff was still en vogue in 2002 so the crowd applauds. Speaking of the crowd, they are jacked for this show. Storm stomps Red in the corner then they trade headscissors. Storm rolls outside and Red hits him with a somersault tope then kicks him in the chest. He rolls storm back into the ring and kicks him some more. Storm comes back and hits a few neckbreakers that gets two. Storm then comes back with the Canadian Destroyer and heads up top but Red turns a diving headbutt attempt into a cutter the goes up top and hits the Infrared before finishing him off with the Red Star Press (6:06) *1/2. After the match, Special K attacks both men until the Spanish Announce Team and Chris Divine make the save.

Thoughts: Some of these moves looked good but they had a lot of timing issues early and this felt like more of an exhibition than anything else. This match did set up the next one though.

Scramble Match
Spanish Assault Team & Chris Divine vs. Izzy & Brian XL & Dixie

The Scramble match rules mean that tags are not necessary. Joel Maximo chops Izzy, then they trade kicks until Joel hits a cradle drop and tosses Izzy to the floor. In the ring, Dixie and Divine work a sloppy sequence until Divine nearly murders him with a brainbuster. Jose and Brian work an awful sequence that ends with Brian getting clotheslined to the floor. Izzy then takes out everyone with an insane springboard moonsault. Brian then almost kills him attempting the Fosbery flop then Elax climbs up and hits a senton and it looked like they forgot to break his fall. Ouch. In the ring, Brian and Joel work an ugly sequence. Dixie tags and gets two with a snap suplex. Discus forearm gets two. Izzy tags and hits an enziguri then a neckbreaker before tagging Dixie. The SATs then work a wacky hold that Corino calls “The Human Taffy Machine.” Dixie comes back with a tornado DDT on Joel but Divine hits him with a tiger suplex. Jose hits Izzy with a cool looking sit-out facebuster. Brian hits his typical sloppy high-flying stuff on Jose. The SATs work a stacked powerbomb that I am surprised Dixie didn’t have his neck broken. Divine then hits Elax with a super faceslam and after that, the SATs hit Brian with the Spanish Fly for the win (9:12) *3/4.

Thoughts: There was some nice offense here and Izzy in particular stood out, but a lot of it looked bad. Brian XL just might have been the worst wrestler in RoH during their first year. He was awful in every single way.

Divine is in the ring and calls out Low Ki for a title match. Low Ki’s music hits and we get a match.

RoH Championship Match
Chris Divine vs. Low Ki (Champion)

Divine chops Low Ki to start. Ki comes back with a bunch of kicks then hits the Tidal Crush, setting up the Dragon Clutch for the win (0:55) NR. After the match, Ki plays to the crowd, who go crazy for him.

Thoughts: I really did not get the point of this but it was short and inoffensive.

Christopher Daniels cuts a promo recorded in an office stating that he is in Japan, showing the world why he is the #1 wrestler in the world. However, he said that the Prophecy will be in Boston and a new member might debut as well. Daniels then tells Ki that he has caused all of his problems, screwed him out of the RoH Championship, and will return to RoH on 9/21/02 to destroy the image of RoH with the help of the Prophecy, and it will all be Low Ki’s fault. Good to see them try to establish a heel stable and a feud for the title.

Dunn & Marcos vs. Christopher St. Connection w/ Allison Danger

The CSC toss Dunn outside then beat on Marcos, mixing in some homoeroticism in the process. The CSC use quick tags to maintain control and chop Marcos hard in the corner. Marcos manages to escape from the corner and tag Dunn who cleans house. The match gets clipped as the CSC are making out then toss Marcos outside before hitting Dunn with the Gay Basher for the win (3:42) *. After the match, Danger beats on both men.

Thoughts: The CSC did a lot more wrestling than usual and did not look too bad in the ring. But still, the tag team division in RoH still left a lot to be desired at this time.

Mike Tobin w/ Danny Drake vs. Scoot Andrews

Andrews cheapshots Tobin after the handshake then takes him down with a leg lariat. He then hits a guillotine leg drop and an Alabama Slam that gets two. Tobin floats over on a pumphandle and hits a Russian leg sweep and a springboard leg drop. Tobin heads up top but misses a swanton bomb then pancakes him after a botched move. Andrews then hits him with the Force of Nature for the win (2:03) 1/2*. After the match, Xavier comes out and challenges him to a rematch.

Thoughts: A nothing match and the having a match to set up an impromptu match happen again tonight is lazy.

Scoot Andrews vs. Xavier

They start by going back and forth until Andrews takes control with a facebuster. He hits a dropkick, but Xavier sends him to the floor with an enziguri and then flies outside with a split-legged moonsault. Back inside, Xavier rams Andrews into the corner then hits an overhead suplex for a nearfall. Andrews comes back with a clothesline then tries the Force of Nature but Xavier escapes. He tries for a sunset flip but Scoot turns that into the Roll of the Dice. Xavier comes back with a splash mountain then goes up top and hits a 450 splash for the win (4:07) *1/2. After the match, the announcers say that Xavier has to be in title contention after winning this feud.

Thoughts: They were pushing Xavier as a threat on commentary as they set him up to face the winner of tonight’s championship match. I have no idea how someone who lost in the first round of the championship tournament got to be the #1 contender either.

Michael Shane pulls up in a Lexus SUV with Biohazard. He tells him to grab his bags after saying how good it is to win a RoH contract. Shane continues to act cocky and better than the rest of the TWA guys, with Bio-Hazard as his sidekick.

Michael Shane vs. Paul London

Rudy Boy Gonzalez watches the match at ringside. Shane attacks London from behind after the handshake. He gets cocky and taunts the crowd, letting London take him down. Shane charges and London backdrops him outside on to Biohazard then takes them both out with a tope. In the ring, London hits the dropsault for two. He hits Shane with forearms in the corner and they do not look too good. Shane shoves London off of the top rope and he flies outside into the guardrail as Shane poses from the top rope. Christ, London is insane. Shane goes outside and softens up London as Corino cracks a lot of lame jokes at the expense of Rudy Boy. He’s trying way too hard to be Bobby Heenan on commentary. In the ring, Shane hits a top rope elbow drop that gets two. He has London in a front facelock as the crowd rallies behind London, who escapes and hits a spinning heel kick and a clothesline. Shane blocks a tornado DDT attempt and sends London into the turnbuckle with an overhead suplex and that gets two. Shane puts on a reverse chinlock then grounds London for a bit. London comes back with a mat slam. He dodges a charging Shane but ends up getting kicked in the face afterwards. They fight up top and Shane takes him down then puts London in the Haas of Pain. London turns it into a cradle. He then gets two off of a rana before taking him outside with a spinning heel kick. London then flies outside with a springboard somersault plancha and Shane sells the ankle, similarly to when Chris Marvel legitimately broke his ankle on the “Round Robin Challenge” Show. London rolls him outside as Shane sells the ankle and Rudy Boy comes inside to check on him but Shane quickly rolls up London for the win (12:45) ***. Shane did a great job of selling there. Simply Luscious steps into the ring to offer Shane a spot in the Prophecy on the behalf of Christopher Daniels. Rudy Boy steps in and grabs the mic from her and tries to convince Shane to say no. Shane ends up hitting Luscious with a super kick, then does the same to Rudy Boy. Bio-Hazard and Shane now attack London with Shane finishing with his top rope elbow drop.

Thoughts: Good match. Shane was the better worker of the two and came across as a star, with London being the crowd favorite due to his crazy moves. They also pushed Shane as a loner here, with him not needing anyone to get ahead.

American Dragon vs. Donovan Morgan

This was set up a few months ago when Daniels brought in Morgan, who pissed off Dragon by dissing the Code of Honor. They lockup for a minute then Morgan goes outside and wants Dragon to join him but he wants to keep it in the ring. Back inside, Morgan shoves down Dragon, who comes back with an armdrag then grabs an armbar. Dragon gets two off of a dropkick then goes back to the arm of Morgan. Dragon locks on a sleeper but Morgan turns that into a back suplex. He takes Dragon outside and sends him into the guardrail a few times. Morgan takes Dragon back inside and takes him down after a few forearm smashes that looked quite snug. Morgan then puts on a legscissor full nelson that Dragon counters into a reverse surfboard. Morgan then ends up catching Dragon with an exploder that gets two. He tries a suplex but Dragon floats over and hits him with an enziguri as both men are down. Dragon is up first and takes him down with a forearm smash, then gets two with a spinning wheel kick. Dragon fires away in the corner, then gets two with a Northern Lights suplex. Dragon eats boot on a charge then Morgan jumps off of the second rope and hits Dragon with a DDT that gets two. They trade rollups until Morgan hits an overhead suplex and that gets two. They now trade European uppercuts and Dragon wins that war. He comes back with a snap suplex, then heads up top and hits the diving headbutt but that only gets two. Morgan counters a Fujiwara armbar with the Golden Gate Swing but that only gets two. The camera shows Morgan’s busted eye as Dragon puts Morgan in the Cattle Mutilation, but the fifteen minute time-limit expires and the match is ruled a draw (15:00) ***1/2. Both guys want five more minutes, as does the crowd, but the referee will not let that happen. The crowd then chants “kill the ref.” Dragon yells at Morgan to shake his hand and extends it out as Morgan stares him down and cheapshots Dragon before hitting the Pedigree.

Thoughts: Damn good match. Both guys hit each other hard and it was a back and forth battle that was enjoyable to watch. Morgan was good in the ring and its a shame that he did not get a longer run with the company.

Da Hit Squad tell the Carnage Crew that they are ready to make the sacrifice.

The Carnage Crew are shown entering the Murphy Rec Center and beating the shit out of two ring boys then tells Da Hit Squad that those were them.

Boston Massacre Match
Carnage Crew vs. Da Hit Squad

This is a hardcore match with the Code of Honor not in effect. They brawl all over the place to start and none of it looks all that good. In the ring, Mafia hits HC Loc with a German suplex. Devito comes in with barbed wire wrapped around his arm and hammers away at Mafia, busting him open. Mafia comes back with a kick to the head and now has the barbed wire and uses that to bust open Devito. The crowd is not all that into this match as it is just garbage brawling that has been done to death. In the ring, Monsta Mack wraps the barbed wire around the head of Loc. Mafia starts screaming in an attempt to rile up the crowd but it fails miserably. Devito opens up Mafia some more then inside of the ring, he hits him with clotheslines and each time Mafia gives him the finger and yells “fuck you.” No one cares. Devito sends Mafia into the corner with an overhead throw then Loc and Mack fuck up a chair swing spot by hitting the chairs together but Mack sells it anyway. The Carnage Crew destroy Da Hit Squad with chairs then Da Hit Squad escapes and goes back to the locker room to grab something and each come back out with a piece of plywood covered in barbed wire and toss it into the ring, where the Carnage Crew are currently standing. They now brawl in the ring as the pieces of barbed wire covered wood are placed in the corners with everyone doing there best to avoid making contact. Da Hit Squad are not over in Wakefield at all by the way. Devito ends up sending Mack into the barbed wire, then Mafia spears Devito through the board as the crowd starts a “holy shit” chant. Devito puts him away with the Burning Hammer (11:04) 1/2*.

Thoughts: A garbage brawl that went on for way too long. Da Hit Squad flopped in Boston, who did not respond at all to their antics like the crowds in Philadelphia have been. And those antics were opening match indy-level stuff anyway.

Don Juan vs. Bio-Hazard w/ Michael Shane

Bio-Hazard takes control early on and hits a pair of suplexes. He catches Juan off of the top and hits a Northern lights suplex that gets two. Juan manages a backslide but Bio-Hazard puts him away very shortly after that with a Teardrop suplex (2:12) 1/4*.

Thoughts: Just a showcase for Bio-Hazard, who was alright in the ring and bigger than most guys in RoH. Besides that, he did not stick out at all.

Maverick Wild vs. Alex Arion

These two guys wrestled for New England Championship Wrestling at this time. Wild did some enhancement work for WCW and WWF in the 90’s. They start the match with a rollup reversal sequence then fight over an armbar. Wild hits a backbreaker but Arion locks on an armbar. He hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors before going back to the arm then more or less repeats the same sequence as this match is getting repetitive. Wild comes back with a Russian leg sweep then gets two with a suplex. He hits Arion with a basement dropkick to the back of the neck. He gets cocky with his pin attempt and Arion cradles him for two. They trade chops in the corner until Wild misses a corner splash in a terrible looking spot then Arion hits him with a super kick that gets two. Wild stomps Arion’s foot and hits a spinning wheel kick before chopping him in the corner. Arion is able to catch Wild with a front facedrop then heads up top and comes off with a splash but Wild gets his knees up. Wild then picks up Arion, who turns it into a victory roll for the win (5:49) *.

Thoughts: A basic match. Arion was repetitive in the ring but looked competent as Wild did not impress at all. Arion wrestled a few more matches for the company while this was the only time Wild appeared.

Natural Born Sinners vs. Tony Mamaluke & James Maritato

Mamaluke and Boogalou take it to the mat to start and it all looked solid. The crowd applauds their efforts as now Maritato and Homicide tag into the match as they also take it to the mat. Maritato rolls through a slam and puts Homicide in a leg lock. Maritato tags Mamaluke but Homicide chops him all over the ring then tags Boogalou and they hit a few double-team moves. Boogaloo locks on the Fujiwara armbar then hammers away as Corino puts over his high school amateur wrestling credentials. Mamaluke is able to back Homicide into his corner and tags Maritato. The former FBI use quick tags to isolate Homicide and target his lower back. Mamaluke gets a nearfall with a German suplex but Homicide comes back with a pair of T-Bone suplexes, and gets two off of that before tagging Boogaloo, who dodges a pair of attacks. He goes back and forth with Maritato until Homicide comes in and hits Maritato with an Ace Crusher. The match breaks down a bit as Maritato misses on a flying knee attack and ends up on the floor. Back inside, Maritato and Homicide counter each other’s moves until Homicide hits him with the Cop Killer for the win (12:32) **1/2. After the match, Maritato shakes the hands of his opponents then leaves Mamaluke lying down in the ring.

Thoughts: Solid match. This was the last match for Boogalou in RoH as he left to sign with XPW in a poor decision on his behalf, as XPW went under shortly afterwards. I think that the Natural Born Sinners could have had a nice run in RoH as they were the most interesting teams in the company. The end with Maritato walking out on Mamaluke also continues their feud.

Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe

The in-ring debut of Mark Briscoe in RoH. The story here is that Mark is sick of being in his older brother’s shadow but is not able to wrestle him in Phladelphia due to being 17 years old as the athletic commission says you need to be 18 years of age to compete, but in Boston the commission does not exist and he can wrestle. They start the match by taking it to the mat as neither man can get an advantage. Mark gets on top of him and slaps him around but Jay counters and ends up nailing him with crossfaces. They trade off some more stuff until Mark ducks his head on a backdrop attempt and Jay chops him repeatedly. Mark comes back with a Northern Lights suplex that gets two as the fans are loving this match. Mark gets cocky and perches on the top rope. Mark bounces off of Jay a few times and they work an Irish whip sequence that ends with Jay booting Mark to the floor. They trade chops outside of the ring and Mark gains the advantage. He sends Jay into the post, busting him open in the process. Back in the ring, Jay fights back but runs into an overhead suplex as Mark goes back to work. He works a headscissors on the mat then breaks and hits a rana before he uses mounted punches. The crowd rallies behind Jay, who is getting destroyed in the corner. Mark plants Jay with a DDT and hammers away. Jay comes back with a dropkick to the knee, then stomps his hand after a gordbuster. Mark cuts Jay off as he climbed up top then takes him down with a springboard Ace Crusher that gets two. That looked pretty damn good. Mark is selling his hand then comes back with a kneedrop. Mark then hits a tombstone piledriver but misses a knee drop from the top rope. Jay comes back with a pair of Dragon Screws then targets the knee some more. He places Mark in the Tree-of-Woe then runs across the ring and dropkicks him in the face. Jay then hits a backbreaker from the torture rack position but Mark comes back with an exploder after ducking a clothesline as both men are down. Jay is sent outside but manages to sidestep a pescado as Mark sells his knee. Mark hits a low blow and rolls Jay inside and hits a springboard missile dropkick, selling his knee mid-move. Jay breaks out of a chinlock and tries for the Jaydriller but Mark floats over. Jay then kills Mark with a powerbomb. Mark comes back with a German suplex and a Dragon Suplex but still cannot put away his brother. He hits a Fisherman’s Buster but misses a moonsault then gets turned inside out with a lariat. Death Valley Driver gets two as the crowd is on their feet. They avoid each other’s finishing moves then Jay hits a Screwdriver. He heads up top but whiffs on a senton then Mark hits a shining wizard then hits Jay with a Cutthroat Driver for the win (16:54) ****. The crowd rightfully gives these two a standing applause. After Jay is carried backstage, Mark comes up to him and yells how he is better than him.

Thoughts: Awesome match that told a good story in the ring. This was the best feud in the company at this point and that is why the match held the crowd’s attention the entire time. Good stuff and a must-see match, especially for fans of the Briscoes who are unfamiliar with their earlier work with the company.

RoH Championship

AJ Styles vs. Low Ki (Champion)

These guys have an impressive sequence on the mat that ends when Low Ki kicks AJ. They now work a test of strength and that ends up into a kicking contest that ends with Ki connecting on an enziguri. Ki tries to fight AJ from the mat but ends up getting kicked in the back of the head. Ki works a headlock on the mat but AJ switches that into a headscissors. Ki breaks that up with kicks then chops AJ hard against the ropes. AJ tries to kip up and take Ki down with a rana, but it gets blocked and Ki kicks AJ in the back. AJ finally hits the kip-up rana then hammers away on Ki for a bit. Ki comes back with a flurry of kicks until he runs into a lariat. Ki gets knocked outside but kicks AJ in the head as he attempted to charge through the middle of the ropes. He rolls AJ back inside and kicks away. AJ ducks a springboard kick and hits Ki with a German suplex then a front facebuster. He takes a breather then tries for the Styles Clash but Ki blocks that and gets two off of a rollup. They trade chops until AJ misses a corner charge. Ki places AJ up top and kicks him before putting on the Hanging Dragon. AJ cuts off Ki and attempts a Splash Mountain, but Ki escapes only for AJ to hit him with a facebuster. He then slams Ki and heads up top but misses the Spiral Tap as both men are down. Ki beats on AJ in the corner but AJ fights back and places Ki in the Tree-of-Woe then connects with a flying forearm and that gets two. They now trade chops from their knees then as they stand up. Ki hits AJ with an enziguri then a brainbuster but that only gets two. Ki goes up top but AJ gets his knees up on a Phoenix Splash attempt. AJ gets two off of a double-pump brainbuster. Ki dodges a charging AJ who bounces off of the turnbuckle then covers and gets two. Ki signals for the Ki Crusher but AJ turns that into a small package for a nearfall. They now are beating the shit out of each other as the fans go crazy. AJ tries for a rana but Ki turns that into a powerbomb and covers with a bridge and that gets two. They then trade counters until Ki gets the win with a Ki Krusher (19:48) ****. Corino then alerts us that RoH will return to the Boston area on November 6th.

Thoughts: Another awesome match. My only complaint, which is a minor one, is that Low Ki took too much of the offense in the match.

Low Ki walks by Xavier and tells him that next month, all he can do is be ready when he challenges him for his title. You could say that they have done a terrible job at building up Xavier as a legitimate title threat, and they have, but in reality, he never had the ability to be at that level to begin with.

Michael Shane asks Rudy Boy how it feels to get taken out by the man he trained. He then tells Rudy to get off of his back. He switches his focus to Simply Luscious and says that he does not need the Prophecy watching his back and loves shaking hands because he has confidence every time he goes into the ring that the referee will raise his hand in victory and his opponent will have to look into his eyes and shake the hand of a better man. He closes by telling Spanky that Shawn Michaels’ blood flows through his veins. Decent promo work from Shane here, who was incredibly cocky and unlikable

Dunn & Marcos call themselves the top tag team in Ring of Honor then stop as they see the Carnage Crew beat the shit out of two other ring crew guys while watching from the balcony.

Final Thoughts: The first half of this show was pretty bad but the second half was damn good. They continue to build up their wrestlers and feuds, which for the most part are getting over. The “spot monkey” guys in the opening matches and most of the tag division are bad as a whole though and that needs to be improved on but for now, they are shaping up the top of the card quite nicely.