Bayless’ Look Back: Ring of Honor: Night of Appreciation April 27, 2002

Low-Ki

April 27, 2002

Your hosts are Steve Corino and Donnie B. The show was named “Night of Appreciation” as this was Eddy Guerrero’s last show before he made his return to the WWE.

HC Loc and Tony DeVito meet each other before the show. DeVito tosses around a couple of guys setting up the arena before they walk away.

The whole theme of this show was to show appreciation to Eddy Guerrero, who would be heading up to the WWE after this show.

Quiet Storm is trying to practice a submission on Brian XL, who wants no part of it. Brian sounds like he is 13 years old.

The Christopher St. Connection attempt to pump up the fans as they wait in line before the show. They will kick the asses of Da Hit Squad. They then kiss each other as the crowd boos but the Da Hit Squad runs them off. They then yell about how they are the only ones who rile up the crowd before the show. They swear a lot and the fans respond well.

Backstage, Quiet Storm approaches the American Dragon asking him to teach a submission hold. He wants him to make it extra tight as they show Brian XL tell Chris Divine that he is not a “biatch” repeatedly and then Dragon comes up from behind and stretches him out as Storm is seen laughing.

Da Hit Squad are with Boogaloo. They mention how Homicide is in Japan and that Boogaloo has nothing planned for tonight. DeVito walks in and keeps calling Boogaloo “boy” then walks away. Looks like those two will have something planned for the show.

PA State Athletic Commissioner Frank Talent tells us how all of the big wigs from Harrisburg will be here as Spanky is sarcastically clapping along while wearing his headphones along after coming in late. They give a round of applause to Guerrero and acknowledge that this is his last show before heading up to the WWE then Talent yells at Spanky to take his headphones off before telling them to go 110% for Guerrero.

Da Hit Squad vs. Elax & Prince Nana & Simply Luscious vs. Christopher St. Connection

This was all set up by a terrible segment that happened in the ring in which Allison Danger announced that it would be a three-way when Da Hit Squad and CSC were brawling on the floor. They all gang up on Da Hit Squad until Nana tosses Elax out of the ring then declares that Luscious will be his partner. Allison Danger is hitting on Luscious, who is intrigued, but Nana is mad at her and then they all argue until Da Hit Squad takes them out. Nana walks out now as Da Hit Squad suplexes everyone else. They nearly snap Luscious in half when she got chokeslammed off of an alley oop and then Mafia puts her away with the Burning Hammer (5:19) ¼*. After the match, Elax runs in to check on Luscious but ends up getting put through a table by Monsta Mack. The fans applaud afterwards.

Thoughts: This was a complete clusterfuck. It did serve a purpose though as they are trying to elevate the team and the crowd digs them.

Jay Briscoe w/ Mark Briscoe vs. Tony Mamaluke

Before the match, Mark made fun of Jay for losing his first two matches, with Jay bringing up how he hasn’t even wrestled a match for RoH. He was not allowed to wrestle in PA as he was only 17 years old .The match starts with both guys taking it to the mat. The announcers bring up how Mamaluke is still playing the FBI gimmick despite the fact that James Maritato wanting to get rid of it forever. Jay shows off some solid chain wrestling here. They trade hiptosses until Jay hits a spinning wheel kick. Snap suplex gets two. Mamaluke floats over and puts Jay in a Fujiwara armbar. He breaks and hits an overhead belly to belly before going back to the arm. Corino talks about all of the RoH rule changes and the “Code of Honor,” with half of the codes broken in the opening match alone. They trade chops until Jay pancakes Mamaluke. They trade off a bunch of reversals and rollups until Jay hits the Jay Driller for the win (7:20) **1/4. The crowd applauds as Mark looks unhappy on the outside over the fact is brother won. Mamaluke disrespects the Code of Honor when Jay helps him up.

Thoughts: Decent action but the match itself was all over the place. They see their parents backstage and they yell at Mark for dissing his brother. Maritato then yells at Mamaluke to ditch the comedy act and get serious, because they are in Ring of Honor. Mamaluke says that he knows who he is, calling Maritato the only comedy act.

York & Matthews cut a terrible promo backstage about how they are back and in full effect.

Divine Storm w/ Brian XL vs. Joey Matthews & Christian York

Storm and Matthews trade off a bunch of overly choreographed stuff. Their timing wasn’t the best, either. York tags and gets two off of a missile dropkick. Storm takes him down with a flying headscissors and a rana before tagging his partner. Divine and York work an ugly sequence for a while. York hits a slam then turns the Inverted Boston Crab into the pendulum swing that Storm breaks up. York hits him with a springboard elbow smash but walks into a spinebuster from Divine. York is in trouble as Divine Storm use quick tags and double-team moves to stay in control. York gets sent outside by Divine after a convoluted spot and gets taken out by a back flip dive courtesy of Brian XL, who gets yelled at for almost costing them a match by violating a Code of Honor. Back inside, Divine gets a nearfall with a powerbomb but York is able to take him off the top rope with an inverted atomic drop then eventually makes the tag. Matthews runs wild on both guys. He sends Divine to the floor with a backdrop but he is able to run in and make the save for his partner. York and Divine spill outside and in the ring, Matthews blocks a Storm Cradle Driver attempt. Storm then goes behind Matthews and puts him in a leg lock, getting the win via submission (8:43) *.

Thoughts: Bad match. Just a collection of moves without any psychology and worse of all, these teams had zero chemistry.

James Maritato vs. Scoot Andrews vs. Xavier

The two guys that Xavier beat get to face him in a three-way. Scoot and Maritato trade off a bunch of stuff to start, even knocking down Xavier as he approaches. They work a choreographed shot in which Xavier went for a reverse neckbreaker on Andrews but Maritato caught his leg and flipped him over, hitting Andrews with a DDT in the process. Xavier lays into Maritato in the corner but runs into a dropkick. They use a tower of doom-type spot as everyone is down. They get up and all engage in a slugfest, knocking each other down in the process. Maritato and Briscoe trade chops until Andrews catches Xavier off of a slingshot suplex attempt and hits the Force of Nature (Pumphandle Reverse Piledriver). Maritato breaks up the pin but Andrews hits him with a powerslam for two. Maritato and Andrews trade moves for a bit as Xavier goes up top. Andrews cuts him off but Maritato takes him down with a Russian Legsweep. Xavier comes off the top but Maritato catches him in a Fujiwara armbar and gets the win (6:26) *1/2.

Thoughts: Mediocre match. I don’t care for Xavier at all but even I don’t get why he lost this match. If you wanted to push him, have him beat these two again instead of losing via tapout.

Simply Luscious is angry and approaches Rob Feinstein, who is on his cell phone backstage. She wants to be treated better than having to team with Prince Nana as Feinstein tells her not to worry and that she will be treated fine at next month’s show.

AJ Styles cuts a promo about giving the people what they want, which is a battle. This was two months before TNA had its debut show. AJ’s delivery was awkward.

AJ Styles vs. Low Ki

The crowd is jacked for this match. It starts on the mat, with Ki gaining the upper hand. Now they are trading kicks and that end with Ki tackling Styles. They stay on the ground for a bit then end in a stand off. Ki kicks Styles in the face after a lockup. AJ takes him down as they roll around on the mat until Ki drills Styles in the face with a kick the follows up with some stiff strikes. AJ takes him down with the kip-up rana then gets two off of a lariat. Neckbreaker gets two. Ki comes back with some more devastating kicks and chops. Styles fights back and nails Ki with a dropkick. Ki is outside the ring where AJ drills him with a superkick. Back inside, Ki comes back with a Mafia Kick that sends AJ to the floor. Ki tries a Ki Krusher on the apron but ends up with the Hanging Dragon instead. In the ring, he tries for the Ki Krusher but Styles counters with a DDT mid-move as the crowd goes crazy. After jockeying for position, AJ comes back with the Phenomenon for two as the crowd loses their minds and chants for AJ. Ki catches AJ with a powerbomb for a nearfall then repeatedly kicks him in the face. Tiger suplex gets two as the crowd applauds. AJ comes back with a short-arm clothesline then hits a few suplexes for nearfalls. Ki hits a gordbuster and follows that with the Tidal Wave. AJ gets his knees up on the Phoenix Splash by Ki and then drops him right on his head with a DDT from the Razor’s Edge position but that only gets two. Holy shit. AJ goes up top but misses the Spiral Tap. Ki kicks him down but AJ escapes the Ki Krusher then goes for the Styles Clash but Ki turns that into a small package for the win (18:14) ***3/4. That finish was terrible as it was clear that AJ kicked out before three.

Thoughts: Awesome match but a terrible finish. These two have always had tremendous chemistry in the ring. Not their best match but still worth checking out and by far the best on this show.

Christopher Daniels says he is happy that RoH has brought in someone like himself in Donovan Morgan, who is a top wrestler and deserves to be in the ring with him.

Dunn & Marcos vs. Carnage Crew

Dunn & Marcos are skinny kids who put together the ring. Carnage Crew destroy them with their awful-looking offense. Half of what they do isn’t close to connecting. Loc puts Marcos on his shoulders as DeVito takes him off with a missile dropkick. He suplexes him in the corner but misses a moonsault and Marcos hits a Tornado DDT and tags Dunn, who hits a missile dropkick. The Carnage Crew fight back with stereo side suplexes then put Dunn away with a Razor’s Edge/Neckbreaker combo (3:13) DUD. After the match, the Carnage Crew beat their opponents with hubcaps, which the announcers state came from Boogaloo’s car.
Thoughts: This match sucked. Why they wanted to push the Carnage Crew, I’ll never know.

Donovan Morgan cuts a promo, showcasing his complete lack of personality.

Donovan Morgan vs. “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels

The announcers call this an “internet dream match.” After trading go-behinds, they take it to the mat, where neither guy can take advantage. Corino keeps on playing up how much these guys respect each other as they trade arm wringers. Morgan works a side headlock for a bit as the fans are applauding everything they do. Daniels breaks it up with a back suplex then works a neck vise. Leg drop gets two then Daniels applies a chinlock. He gets a backdrop and another back suplex, which gets two. Morgan hits a neckbreaker then uses a surfboard. Snap suplex gets two. Basement dropkick gets two. Daniels comes back with a lariat then punches away. Morgan gets a sunset flip for two then slaps on a leg lock while grapevining the leg. He hits an urinage and an elbow smash for nearfalls but ends up eating elbow on a charge. Daniels hits a German suplex as both men are down. The crowd is super into this match, which has been technically sound for the most part but nothing great or anything. Daniels is up first and fires away. He gets two off of a neckbreaker. Daniels then hits the Best Moonsault Ever but Morgan is able to kick out. Morgan is placed up top but kicks Daniels away and then jumps off and hits an Impaler DDT that gets two. Daniels puts on a crossface but Morgan was able to make it to the ropes. Daniels runs into a forearm smash. Morgan lands on the apron and tries to take Daniels over with a sunset flip but it is blocked. Daniels picks him up for a reverse DDT but Morgan counters and hits the Golden Gate Swing (swinging Fisherman suplex) but was unable to get the pin then hits the move again, this time holding onto the leg and gets the win (13:13) ***. After the match, Daniels grabs the mic and tells Morgan that since he beat him in a straight-forward singles match he respects him but will not shake his hand because the Code of Honor is a farce. However, since he proved to everyone he is a top talent, he is going to watch his back because “five-foot seven people” like Low Ki and the American Dragon are running around.

Thoughts: Good match. Morgan might have been something if he showed any personality but he never did. He had a good look and was a decent wrestler. Seems to be heading towards an alliance between Daniels & Morgan.

Backstage, Spanky pisses off the rest of the TWA (American Dragon, Michael Shane, Paul London, John Hope) guys for coming late. He then acts like a douche, pissing off everyone and states that he will win the gauntlet.

TWA Gauntlet Match

John Hope vs. Paul London

This was not shown on the DVD and a few clips were shown. London won with the shooting star press.

Paul London vs. Michael Shane

Simply Luscious joins the announcers table. They work a fast-paced Irish whip sequence that ends with Shane countering a powerbomb with a face crusher. He then kills him with an enziguiri but comes back with a rana. He then hits the dropsault and that gets two. Northern lights suplex gets two. Shane comes back with a spear then works a submission hold. London floats over and hits a facebuster then goes up top but misses the shooting star press. Shane goes up top and hits an elbow drop for the win (3:40) ¾*.

Michael Shane vs. Spanky

The announcers play up the rivalry between these two. They start by trading slaps and chops, with Shane winning that battle. Spanky slides outside for a breather and uses a headbutt on Shane from the apron but misses a top rope crossbody. Shane hits a gutbuster and a neckbreaker that gets two. Luscious leaves the announcer’s table because Corino kept hitting on her. Shane gets sent outside and got busted open. Spanky lays into him with forearms and targets the cut. They go back inside where Spanky gets sent to the floor. Shane rams his head off of the guardrail. Back inside, Spanky pulls the ropes down as Shane charges, sending him to the floor. More brawling outside then Spanky rolls Shane in and hits a suplex. Shane fights back and hits a twisting senton. Spanky punches away as Shane begs him to hit him harder. Shane hits a clothesline and a backdrop. Spanky skins the cat but in the process gets sent outside with a dropkick. Shane follows him out with a somersault plancha as Corino makes jokes about Chris Marvel. Inside, Shane gets a nearfall with an Oklahoma roll. Spanky then takes control with a neckbreaker but Shane fights him off and climbs up top but staggers around and falls off, with Corino saying it was due to the blood loss. Spanky then tries for the Sliced Bread #2 but Shane counters and catches him with a super kick for a nearfall. He tries another one but Spanky blocks it and eventually hits the Sliced Bread #2 for the win (10:07) **1/4.

Spanky vs. American Dragon

They start on the mat as Dragon is sporting new tights. Dragon works the arm but Spanky is able to escape. Dragon keeps going back to the arm but Spanky is able to grab a front facelock. Dragon chops Spanky then slams him down. Spanky lands on his feet after a German suplex then snaps Dragon’s neck off of the ropes. Dragon kicks Spanky on the ropes as he falls back inside. Spanky knocks Dragon off of the apron with an elbow smash and rolls him back inside. He hits a springboard attack on the neck then takes Dragon down with a clothesline. Corino then tells a story of how Spanky walked in the snow in Alaska in his underwear to a store so he could get a Milky Way bar. Dragon tosses Spanky, whose pants are now split, across the ring. Spanky comes off the top but his met with a forearm and Dragon takes control. They then trade off some suplexes until Dragon hits a powerbomb. He puts on a full nelson but Spanky reverses and hits the Sliced Bread #2. However, Bryan kicks out. Spanky eats boot off of a charge then Dragon hits the dragon suplex for two. He places Spanky on top for a back suplex but Spanky counters and hits the Sliced Bread #2 from the top rope for the win (13:41) **1/2. After the match, Spanky grabs the mic and proclaims himself as the best person to come from Shawn Michaels’ Wrestling Academy and talks some more but the shitty production values prevent me from hearing most of this. He calls himself the “showstopper” but Dragon gets the mic and says that this is the first time that Spanky has beat him but Christopher Daniels comes out and says that he hates to interrupt recess and says that they are not in the same league as him and he will win the tournament to crown the first RoH Champion. Scoot Andrews, the “Black Nature Boy” comes out and talks himself up but Daniels cuts him off for speaking over him then Andrews hits him and wants Daniels as his first round opponent. Then, Xavier, Jay Briscoe, Prince Nana (who cuts an awful, long promo), and Low Ki all declare themselves as part of the tournament.

Thoughts: I was pretty disappointed by this. It went long and just wasn’t anything special at all. The London vs. Shane match was short and unmemorable and the final two matches just struggled to find a flow. Spanky is getting a push here and that’s good, because he is showing a lot. I forgot how talented he was because the last time I saw him in TNA and at the end of his WWE run, he couldn’t have cared less.

Spanish Announce Team vs. Amazing Red & Eddy Guerrero

Red takes down Jose after a fast-paced sequence. Eddy tags and assists Red with a satellite headscissors then hits Joel with a backbreaker then works the arm. Joel comes back with a rana but Eddy takes him down and puts Joel in a sharpshooter. He then hits a tope con hilo and grabs a side headlock. Joel comes back with a backdrop then tags out. The SATs use some double-team moves on Eddy then toss Red to the floor as he tried to help his partner. Jose hits a few suplexes for nearfalls. He climbs up top but Eddy cuts him off and hits a superplex. He makes the tag to Red who hits Joel with a DDT. Red Star Press gets two. Red fires away until he got caught with a sitout powerbomb. The SATs use quick tags to neutralize Red. Eddy breaks up a pin attempt but the SATs go back to using double-team moves. Joel puts Red in a pendulum as Jose hits him with a slingshot leg drop in a sick spot for two. That was innovative. Red catches Joel with a spin kick as he came off the top rope as the crowd chants for Eddy, who was just tagged. Eddy goes a million miles an hour. He hits a brainbuster as the camera shows the roster watching the match near the entrance. Eddy clotheslines Joel and goes for the frog splash but Jose cuts him off. The SATs try the Spanish Fly but that fails. Jose blocks a rana but Eddy alley-oops a charging Red who snaps him off the top rope. Red then takes out Joel with a flip dive. Eddy rolls through a top rope dive then hits Jose with the splash mountain for the win (13:11) **3/4. After the match, everyone applauds Eddy. Brian XL comes in and is pissed that he was not able to face Eddy, who takes the mic and calls him “Lil’ Bow Wow.” Brian hits him but Eddy pancakes them before throwing him all around the ring and finishing him off with the frog splash. After that, the crowd starts a “we will miss you” chant. Eddy grabs the mic again and talks about his new life of God and gives a heartfelt speech, thanking the fans.

Thoughts: Decent match but really, the only thing memorable was Eddy’s sendoff, which would have been better if I could have heard everything he said. The production values were awful in early RoH and the sound quality was the worst part. The SATs didn’t suck in this match either. Eddy helped a lot with that part.

Backstage, Low Ki and Dragon are coming back from ringside talking about how great it was that everyone showed respect for Eddy Guerrero. They then see Spanky, listening to his headphones and talking about how much he loves his pizza. They ask him why he wasn’t out there and Spanky avoids him so Ki rips off his headphones and breaks them. Spanky said that they pay to see him, not Eddy, then Daniels and Morgan walk in, with Daniels asking them if they are done “marking out” over Eddy and that leads to Ki punching him, then a brawl breaks out. Its broken up as Spanky, Daniels, and Morgan run away.

Final Thoughts: This was not a good show at all. The sendoff for Eddy was nice and the Styles/Ki match was pretty damn good but other than that, the backstage segments were horrendous and the commentary was as bad as ever. Doonie B and Corino might be one of the worst announcing duos of all time. This promotion also continues to struggle finding their identity. The segments are a bad mix of old-school wrestling with insider terms and information. No one gives a fuck about insider information on the actual wrestling shows.

Author: Brian Bayless