Bayless’ Look Back: Ring of Honor Road to the Title – June 22, 2002


From the Murphy Recreation Center in Philadelphia,PA

Your hosts are Steve Corino and Donnie B.

Da Hit Squad pumps up Low Ki in the locker room by telling him that the tournament is all about him. Ki then gets up and starts to throw forearms against the wall before promising to win the title.

Block C

Bio Hazard vs. American Dragon

Bio Hazard cheapshots Dragon after shaking his hand. The rules of the tournament are explained as the final four competitors tonight will compete in an hour-long Iron Man match for the belt at the next show. Bio Hazard hits a few suplexes but Dragon chops him back. He hits a few forearm smashes but eats boot on a charge. Dragon comes right back with a DDT and an inverted suplex before locking on the Cattle Mutilation for the win (2:34) *.

Thoughts: Fine for what is was but too short to really develop. Bio Hazard looked solid.

Block A

Paul London vs. Spanky

These two start on the mat as neither guy can gain the advantage. London slingshots in with a flying headscissors and follows that with a few armdrags. London sends Spanky to the floor with a spinning heel kick but was unable to follow him out with a tope as Spanky moved out of the way. Spanky gets back in the ring and hits London with a few suplexes then works the arm. Spanky spins out of a sunset flip attempt and then sets him up for a running kick that got two. Suplex gets two as Spanky is getting frustrated. They trade forearm smashes as London gets the best of that. London hits him with a twisting senton but charges and runs into a flying headscissors. London then dodges a kick and murders Kendrick with a superkick as both men are down and the crowd is going crazy. London is up first and heads up top. He shoves Spanky down but misses the shooting star press. Spanky tries for the Sliced Bread #2 but London crotches Spanky on the ropes then kicks him outside. London then flies out with a somersault plancha, nearly killing himself in the process. He rolls Spanky inside then hits a sweet double springboard quebrada for a near fall. Spanky fights back but London slams him down with a chickenwing facebuster for two. London heads up top but Spanky cuts him off and then London almost dies as they completely botch a superplex. Holy shit was London lucky to be able to get up after that. Spanky hits a brainbuster then heads up top and that leads to a few reversals that finishes with Spanky hitting the Sliced Bread #2 for the win (9:57) **1/2.

Thoughts: Clunky at times but entertaining enough. Spanky was a lot more advanced in the ring than London was at this point. Spanky was also the most charismatic person in the promotion. The superplex botch was incredibly scary to watch.

Block C

Jay Briscoe vs. Doug Williams

Williams starts by schooling Jay with his mat wrestling. Mark Briscoe comes out to show his brother support. They go back and forth some more until Jay hits a dropkick. He then hits a trio of suplexes for a nearfall before chopping Williams in the corner. Williams reverses an Irish whip and send Jay in the corner and hits consecutive running knee smashes. Jay floats over on a suplex attempts then folds Williams in half with a powerbomb. Top rope legdrop gets two. He tries for the Jay Driller but Williams is able to block the move. He fights back with European uppercuts then finishes him off with the Chaos Theory, which is a roll up into a German suplex (6:18) **1/4.

Thoughts: Fine match. Williams looked good in his RoH debut and they continued the friction between the Briscoe Brothers.

Block A

Jonny Storm vs. Jody Fleisch

Both of these guys are from the FWA promotion in England. They start by going a million miles an hour and end in a standoff, which the crowd applauds. Not bad but it was extremely choreographed. Storm kicks Fleisch through the ropes and follows out with a senton. Back inside, Storm’s momentum sends him flying through the ropes and then he comes back in where they completely botch a floatover. Fleisch superkicks Storm, then sends him to the floor with a clothesline and follows him out with a springboard shooting star press. Back inside, they engage in a pinfall reversal sequence that lasts just a bit too long. Storm follows Fleisch to the top rope and takes him down with a German suplex. Storm messes up a springboard frankensteiner but recovers and gets a nearfall. They mess up another spot but that leads to a rana for two. Fleisch comes back with a tornado DDT but it gets blocked when he tries it again. Storm tries for another springboard rana but Fleisch catches him in a sitout powerbomb for the win (7:01) *1/2.

Thoughts: Neither guy impressed to be honest and the match was really sloppy. Fleisch is the least impressive guy to make it into the second round.

Block D

Prince Nana vs. Low Ki

Nana attacks Ki before the bell. He rams him into the turnbuckle then hits a suplex. Nana stomps away then hits an avalanche in the corner. The crowd chants for Low Ki as Nana continues to destroy him. Ki tries to fight back but Nana knocks him back down. Nana misses a second avalanche then Ki absolutely drills him with an enziguiri as the referee calls for the bell (3:54) ½*. A few officials and Rob Feinstein, dressed like a gay raver (well, the rumors state that he was one), comes into the ring to check on Nana.

Thoughts: They put over Ki strong here, which was the main thing. Nana was never thought of as someone who would win this match.

Block D

Xavier vs. Amazing Red

Xavier hits Red with an overhead suplex to start. Red comes back with a tornado DDT then hits him with a running flip dive. Back inside, Xavier catches Red and powerbombs him. Red floats over on a pumphandle then takes down Xavier with a rana, who ends up using a handspring and from that hits Red with a kick. Red comes back with a nearfall off of a sunset bomb then hits a few kicks. Xavier slams Red down and heads up top but misses the 450 splash. Red comes back with a springboard into a DDT. Xavier cuts off Red but Ed counters the splash mountain and hits a spinkick then goes up top for the Infrared before finishing off Xavier with the Red Star Press (4:21) **.

Thoughts: Good action but too short to mean anything. Xavier’s push has been put on hold, for tonight anyway.

Block B

“Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels vs. Scoot Andrews

Before the match, Daniels talks about the Prophecy and its first member, Simply Luscious. Daniels attacks Scoot as soon as he enters the ring. He hits a clothesline but Andrews slams Daniels off of a tilt-a-whirl. Dropkick gets two for Andrews but Daniels comes back with a neckbreaker. He punches away in the corner but Andrews counters a bulldog attempt and hits a few punches. Daniels floats over on a pumphandle slam but Andrews hits a Tiger Bomb for a nearfall. Daniels comes back with a STO then hits the Best Moonsault Ever for the win (2:29) *.

Thoughts: Again, too short to mean anything.

After the match, Luscious hits Andrews then begs for him to hit her back. Andrews says that he has never hit a woman but knows someone who will, then brings out Sumie Sakai, who the crowd applauds and we get an impromptu match.

Simply Luscious vs. Sumie Sakai

They trade nearfalls to start then Sakai hits a few dropkicks and a slam for a nearfall. Luscious comes back with a dropkick then hits a spinebuster for two. Sakai hits a pair of missile dropkicks but still cannot put Luscious away. Luscious gets two off of a suplex but Sakai hits several overhead chops then locks on an abdominal stretch. Sakai hits a terrible-looking slam and heads up top for the moonsault and the win (3:26) DUD.

Thoughts: Awful match. These two were not on the same page at all and why even bother to have a title tournament match set this up, when RoH was not even promoting a women’s division at the time. A giant waste.

Block B

AJ Styles vs. Jerry Lynn

This is just before they started their great feud in TNA. They both trade off working the arm to start the match and that ends in a standoff. They are now engaging in a fast-paced reversal sequence that looks fine but a little too choreographed once again. Lynn grounds AJ then puts him in a bow-and-arrow lock. He stomps AJ then hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker that gets two. AJ blocks a tornado DDT attempt but Lynn ends up tossing AJ into the turnbuckle with an overhead suplex and that gets two. AJ took one hell of a bump on that. AJ escapes from a Gory Special and connects with a super kick. Swinging neckbreaker gets two. AJ goes to work on the arm for a while until Lynn backdrops AJ to the apron then hits a leg drop. AJ blocks a suplex attempt and comes back with a fallaway neckbreaker that gets two then AJ goes back to the arm. Now they counter each others finishers until Lynn plants AJ with an enziguiri as both men are down. They get up and engage in a pinfall reversal sequence. Lynn hits a German suplex with a bridge for two as both men are down again as Corino mentions that the winner will face Christopher Daniels. AJ goes up top and hits the Spiral Tap but Lynn kicks out much to AJ’s dismay. Lynn comes back with a DDT then hits the TKO but AJ kicks out of that but AJ comes right back and hits the Styles Clash for the win (15:30) ***1/4.

Thoughts: Good match but these two would have better in TNA. A win over Lynn gives AJ more credibility with the RoH fanbase and that is a good thing.

Dunn and Marcos are in the ring proclaiming that they are the top tag team but Da Hit Squad run out and beat the shit out of them. After that, Quiet Storm comes out and cannot believe that they call themselves the greatest team seeing as they haven’t had a match (they have but lets just play along). Now the SATs come out as RoH shows the complete lack of depth that they had at this time and a six-man brawl breaks out. After that, the Christopher St. Connection come out and kiss in the middle of the ring until Homicide & Boogaloo come out and break that up then Homicide bends Allison Danger over his knee and pulls up her skirt and slaps her ass. Now the Carnage Crew comes out as the announcers try to figure out who is the best tag team in RoH. This lasted for way too long and none of these teams were any good at all. Well, Natural Born Sinners seemed to have some potential but Boogaloo was gone after the next show.

Block A Finals

Jody Fleisch vs. Spanky

This starts out with another fast-paced sequence that has been seen in almost every match. Fleisch takes down Spanky with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and a spinning wheel kick. Spanky takes a breather and leaps up to the apron and blocks a dive attempt by Fleisch. He gets nearfalls with a brainbuster and a back suplex but Fleisch blocks a Sliced Bread #2 attempt and kicks Spanky to the floor. Fleisch tries a springboard moonsault but overshoots it and takes out the guardrail. He’s lucky he didn’t kill himself and the crowd applauds when he gets up. Back inside, Fleisch lands on his feet after Spanky rolled away from a shooting star press then gets two off of a rollup. Spanky misses a charge in the corner but ducks a flying attack then gets two with a La Magistral then follows with the Sliced Bread #2 for the win (5:15) *1/2.

Thoughts: Fleisch was nowhere near polished enough of a wrestler to be in this tournament, IMO, never mind advancing to the second round. Spanky did a fine job.

Block C Finals

Doug Williams vs. American Dragon

Dragon hits an enziguiri to start off the match. He kicks Williams again and grabs a front facelock. Williams escapes and takes Dragon down then they take it to the mat. They bust out all sorts of wacky holds mixed in with stiff strikes. Williams catches Dragon on a crossbody attempt and hits a backbreaker then stretches him out over his knee. Butterfly suplex gets two then Williams puts Dragon in the Gory Special and drops him in the tree of woe. Williams dropkicks him then takes him down with a pair of running knee strikes. Dragon catches Williams with a dropkick as he comes off of the top rope then works the leg. They end up rolling out to the floor as Dragon works a figure four but the referee breaks it up. Dragon tries to suplex Williams back into the ring from the apron but Williams counters that and they end up on the floor. Back inside, Williams gets a nearfall with a rollup. They work a reversal sequence that ends with Williams hitting a tornado DDT that gets two. He lays into Dragon with a few European uppercuts but Bryan comes back with a neck crank suplex as both men are down. They get up and trade shots until Dragon knocks him down with a dropkick. He hits a suplex and follows with a diving headbutt but that only gets two. Williams dodges a corner charge and hits the Chaos Theory on Dragon but that only gets two as the fans are into this match. Dragon kicks the shit out of Williams and places him on top and hits a super back suplex but sells the move before covering and only gets two. He tries the Cattle Mutilation but Williams rolls through and hits a gutwrench suplex then pins him with a bridge for the win (13:36) ***1/2.

Thoughts: Damn good match. Some of these strikes were brutal as these two did not mind working snug. Dragon losing is a bit of a shock though.

Block D Finals

Amazing Red vs. Low Ki

The crowd chants “You killed Nana” at Low Ki, who starts off the match by kicking Red in the leg. Red comes back with a spin kick and that starts off a pretty great martial arts sequence which has the crowd going nuts. Ki grounds Red then blocks a few kicks and takes him down with a dragon screw. Ki hits a few kicks but Red takes him down then almost puts him away with the Red Star Press. Red’s bandana comes off as he attacks Ki. After countering a rana, Ki takes Red down with a rolling koppu kick that looked fantastic. He chops Red in the corner but Red dropkicks him in midair after he tried a handspring kick. The crowd is going apeshit right now as these two are doing some incredible spots that all look crisp. Ki kicks Red off of the second ropes and he takes a nasty bump to the floor. No wonder his knees are all fucked up today. Back inside, Ki attacks Red for a bit until Red comes back with a tornado DDT. Red dropkicks Ki off of the apron but is met with a knee to the head when he attempts to fly outside. Jesus. Ki signals for the Ki Krusher but Red is able to reverse it into a small package of sorts for a nearfall. Red then blocks a powerbomb attempt and off of that ends up hitting an inverted hurricanrana. Ki rolls away from the Infrared then murders him with an European uppercut before sending Red into the turnbuckle with a Ki Krusher. Ki rolls Red back inside then rolls through his Phoenix Splash attempt. Red is then able to cut off Ki on top with a kick but Ki blocks a hurricanrana and hits a Super Ki Krusher for the win (11:13) ****. After the match, Brian XL comes in and cuts a promo that I cannot understand due to the poor audio quality then attacks Red until the SATs make the save and hit him with the Spanish Fly.

Thoughts: Fantastic match. These two had some incredible sequences and the work was all crisp. The Super Ki Krusher was an insane move too. This match gave Red some credibility, even in a losing effort. That is what you want out of these matches when your promotion is in it’s infancy.

Backstage, the Natural Born Sinners call out the Carnage Crew and say that they will kill them in a Bunkhouse Brawl match at the 7/27 show.

Brian XL bitches at Divine Storm for not making the save when he was attacked by the SATs. They couldn’t care less and neither could I to be honest.

Block B Finals

AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels w/Simply Luscious

These two start off the match with some mat work as Donnie B informs us that he has some breaking news to deliver after this match. Neither man can gain the advantage as they are frequently countering each others moves. Daniels grabs a quick rollup then they go back to the mat. Donnie B then breaks the news that on the 8/24 show, AJ Styles will face Low Ki in a rematch from the “Night of Appreciation” show. AJ gets a nearfall with a dropkick then they go back to the mat. The mat work is pretty good but it is getting a bit repetitive now. AJ kips up and catches Daniels with a rana then they trade shots until AJ dropkicks him to the floor. AJ slingshots outside with a twisting pescado then they brawl on the apron until Daniels gains the advantage with a low blow then knocks him off the apron into the guardrail with a forearm smash that busts AJ open. Daniels attacks the cut on AJ’s head. They are back inside the ring as Daniels continues to attack the cut on AJ’s head. Daniels waves his blood-covered hand in front of the camera then goes back on the attack. Daniels pancakes AJ and that gets two. He misses a quebrada then AJ comes back with a brainbuster as both men are down. AJ is up first and sends Daniels to the floor then they brawl on the apron. Daniels is hung over the middle rope and AJ takes him down with a double jump moonsault for two. Daniels then comes back with a Flatliner and from that he immediately locks on the Koji Clutch as the crowd chants for AJ. Daniels has the hold broken up but comes back with a guillotine leg drop to the back of the head for two. Falcon Arrow gets two. Daniels gets pissed at the crowd chanting for AJ then stops a comeback with an eye poke. AJ comes back with an enziguiri then they blow a discus clothesline spot. AJ gets two off of a powerslam then hits a German suplex and rolls through that to hit a front face suplex, which gets two. Daniels comes back with an STO as both men are down again. Blue Thunder Bomb gets two. Daniels stalls and that allows AJ to stop a Best Moonsault Ever attempt. AJ tries for the Styles Clash but Daniels rolls through with an ankle lock then grapevines the leg. After that, they engage in a pinfall reversal sequence that the crowd appreciates. AJ then tries for the Phenomenon but Daniels blocks that and hits the Last Rites for the win (21:45) ***3/4. The crowd appreciates the efforts of both guys.

Thoughts: Started off a bit too slow but built up to a damn good match. AJ has established himself as a top guy in RoH tonight and worked the most out of anyone else on this show. Daniels winning was not a shock, especially considering that Low Ki advanced and they have feuded since the debut show.

Donnie B. comes into the ring and makes his announcement but Daniels grabs the mic from him and tells the fans that the “Code of Honor” is a farce. Daniels keeps grabbing the mic away from Donnie until Spanky comes in and tells off Daniels before knocking him down. Donnie finally speaks as the tells the fans that Ring of Honor TV can be shown weekly on WGTW-48 starting on Sept 2nd. Now, all four participants in the Ring of Honor 60 Minute Iron Man Match come out as they reveal the RoH Championship but first Daniels interrupts by trying to steal the belt and this triggers a brawl between all four men. Ki refuses to let Daniels go from a Dragon Sleeper as Da Hit Squad begs for him to let go as do others who then they try to pull him off and they carry them both out of the ring as Ki still has the hold locked onto Daniels.

AJ, still bleeding from his forehead, tells us that on the 7/27 show, he will face Adam Jacobs and David Young in a three-way match as they will all show us what the South is really about.

Rudy Boy is backstage looking for Simply Luscious.

Spanky taunts Dragon for not being in the finals or even booked for next month’s show. Dragon then challenges Spanky in a best of three falls match in Boston on 8/24 but Spanky just walks away.

Carnage Crew promises to take out the Natural Born Sinners then toss around a couple of the ring guys.

Outside of the arena, Corino is seen making out with Simply Luscious and stops to sarcastically thank Rudy Boy for making this happen.

Final Thoughts: Not a bad show as it featured four matches above ***. However, the tag team stuff was all horrible and the terrible production values, specifically the sound quality, made it difficult to follow the in-ring promos. The backstage stuff is generally terrible too, as is the announcing. The only thing the company has going is the in-ring product. The 60 Minute Four-Way Iron Man Match for the Belt should be interesting but besides the Bunkhouse Brawl tag, the next show has nothing else of importance.