Bayless’ Look Back: Ring of Honor: The Round Robin Challenge

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March 30, 2002

Your hosts are Steve Corino and Eric Gargiulo.

The show begins with Christopher Daniels cutting a promo about RoH thinking that they are better than all of the other independent promotions and doesn’t like the shaking hands as he is here to pin shoulders to the mat. He then tells Low Ki and American Dragon that he will beat them both tonight in the Round Robin Challenge.

Da Hit Squad are shown outside of the building pumping up the mutants in line who start chanting where they are coming from, with a majority of them stating they are from NYC. Then, some pussy who looks like a child molester starts pretending that he is a tough guy by swearing at the camera man to focus on him. Then, two assholes who brag that they are from Wisconsin start to swear a lot as one of them calls Da Hit Squad “the stiffest tag team they have ever seen.” Oh, boy. Anyway, Mafia tells them that they will get their “motherfuckin’ money’s worth” tonight. (I had to throw in all of the cursing in explaining these mutants as they were the only adjectives in the English language that were appropriate enough for the situation. I am not mad at all about the segment, I just had to describe these folks the best that I could).

Quiet Storm is trying to get Chris Divine to take a move from him. Dragon walks by, see this and then shows him how to do the move and Divine in agony as a result. Dragon came across like he was on the high school wrestling team in this segment.

Round Robin Challenge

“Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels vs. American Dragon

Daniels hits a leg lariat but misses a clothesline and gets knocked down. Dragon works a chokehold on the mat until Daniels breaks the ropes. They take it to the mat where they work some test-of-strength spots until Dragon counters to a crossface. He switches to a side headlock as Corino says these guys have the ability to top the three-way match from the last show. The announcers bring up the “code of honor” and who will have the bigger advantage when they face Low Ki as Dragon maintains a side headlock. He hits a dropkick but Daniels comes back with a back suplex then goes to work on the neck. They start to trade chops in the corner but Daniels takes him down with a forearm smash to the neck. He gets a few nearfalls as he continues to target the neck. Dragon comes back with an overhead belly-to-belly then chops Daniels against the ropes. He hits a few running strikes then a flying forearm in the corner. He sells the neck as he is too hurt to hit a suplex so he settles for a DDT. Dragon gets two off of a diving headbutt. Daniels ducks a discus forearm and takes him down with an STO. The Best Moonsault Ever only gets two, which shocks Daniels. Dragon comes back with an elbow then they engage in a chop battle. Daniels takes him down with a clothesline and gets two off of a Blue Thunder Driver. Dragon goes for the Cattle Mutilation but his neck is hurt and Daniels reaches the ropes. Daniels hits a piledriver followed by the Roll of the Dice before making him tap to the crossface (14:42) ***1/4. After the match, Daniels grabs the mic and makes a mockery of the code of honor as he forces Dragon to shake his hand. Dragon then tells Daniels he respects him and accepts as the crowd applauds.

Thoughts: Good match. Since they would both be wrestling again tonight, they did not go all out here. Even still, it was good action.

Backstage, Prince Nana is with “Towel Boy” Eric Tuttle. He makes him shine his shoes.

CW Anderson grabs some kid and tells him that he will be his partner against Joey Matthews & Christian York. The kid was laughing and accepted.

Prince Nana & Eric Tuttle w/Simply Luscious vs. Da Hit Squad

Gargiulo informs us that Simply Luscious drove 30 hours from Texas to get here and this was the only “spot” for her on the show. Before the match, Nana cuts a promo and is upset that the crowd refuses to show him respect. This goes on for far too long until Da Hit Squad enter and destroy them. Mafia hits a frog splash on Nana while Mack had him in a figure four. He then leaves as they destroy Tuttle until Mafia puts him away with the Burning Hammer (1:51) DUD. After the match, the Christopher Street Connection make their way ringside to the tune of “YMCA” as the Da Hit Squad launch Tuttle outside as the CSC and Nana barely broke his fall and then take Simply Luscious and do the same but lucky for her, the others are there to catch her. Nana picks her up then drags her to the back by her hair as the CSC are performing their own version of CPR to Tuttle, with one of the guys giving mouth-to-mouth to Tuttle’s crotch and then drag him backstage but Nana saves him and takes him away.

Thoughts: Just an awful “sports entertainment” segment. They seem to be trying to get Da Hit Squad over.

Backstage, Danny Drake of the Boogie Knights says that he pulled a “classic rib” by taking a shit in the bag of a ring attendant. Mike Tobin reminds him of how the Natural Born Sinners are after them as they take a walk and steal the rubber chicken of the Sinners but got scared and dropped it and walk away angry.

York and Matthews are backstage and tell CW Anderson that it will take more than just himself to beat them.

Christian York & Joey Matthews vs. Elax & CW Anderson

Elax is some goofy-looking dipshit wearing a t-shirt that reads “Got Poop?” CW orders him to stand on the apron. The match starts out with Matthews and CW going back and forth. Matthews hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and tags York. Elax tags and lands a few shots but York catches him with a slam then hits a senton and starts to grunt. The announcers say that Elax is part of the ring crew as Corino thinks he is “half-retarded.” Elax gets hit with double-team suplexes until CW breaks it up then tags himself into the match. He hits a Michinoku Driver on Matthews for a nearfall then targets the arm. He tags Elax, who also works the arm but Matthews breaks free and knocks him down. CW tags and knocks York off of the apron then places Matthews up top. Matthews shoves him off but CW climbs back up and hits his standing superplex. That would be an awesome finisher today and someone should steal that. Matthews eats an elbow off of a charge but comes back with a neckbreaker and makes the tag. York hits a few clotheslines then picks up Elax for the Gory Guerrero special, who thinks it is fun. CW hits the Ferris Wheel suplex on York then Elax hits a missile dropkick on Matthews as the match breaks down. CW gets shoved and knocks Elax off of the apron and that allows York and Matthews to hit the Problem Solver for the win (7:05) *1/2. After the match, CW blames Elax for costing him the match then knocks him down before hitting him with a spinebuster.

Thoughts: The match sucked when York was working and this Elax goof was useless. It wouldn’t be the end of him though.

Xavier cuts a generic 80s face promo, sucking up to the fans and stating that he is here to compete and will face James Maritato tonight.

Maritato then cuts a promo about how it has been a year since ECW folded and he is no longer “Little Guido” but will be known as James Maritato, the name he used for the UWFI shoot promotion in Japan. He says that it is time to start somewhere and that Xavier will feel his wrath.

James Maritato vs. Xavier

Maritato gets a good reaction from the crowd, who starts an “AC Slater” chant aimed at Xavier. The announcers state how Maritato has ditched the comedy and will go back to his roots. They go back and forth and roll all around the mat as they battle for position. Xavier comes back in after taking a breather and uses the bow-and-arrow lock. They end up in a standoff after a rollup reversal sequence as the crowd applauds. Xavier hits a draping DDT then stomps away. He hits some strikes in the corner then places him up top and tries to take him down with a headscissors but Maritato turns it into a hanging Boston Crab then gets a nearfall with a top rope stomp to the head. Xavier comes back and hits a knee drop but Maritato comes back with a tornado DDT. He then hits him with a leg drop to the back of the neck from the apron then puts on an Oriental Scorpion. He breaks out of a Cobra Clutch then they have a reversal sequence that ends with Xavier scoring the pin with a cradle (7:00) **1/4.

Thoughts: A decent enough match, thanks to Maritato. He was really brought in as a name guy for Xavier to beat. They were really focused on pushing him.

A man named Frank Talent from the PA State Athletic Commission is shown addressing the locker room before the show. He dresses like a school principal from the 1960s. Anyway, he tells them that last month’s show was one of the best ever in the state and that they can top it this week but not to use any blood or cursing. Spanky is shown brushing his teeth as the camera keeps focusing on him as he smirks. He then throws on his headphones and sarcastically claps as Talent leaves.

The Natural Born Sinners are backstage. Homicide tells the Boogie Knights that they are “lucky bastards” and that they are going to kill them when they are done with them. Boogaloo says that they will never get his chainsaw.

The Boogie Knights vs. Natural Born Sinners

The Knights won on the inaugural show by DQ but they got their asses kicked the entire time. Corino tells Gargiulo that he smells as Homicide beats Tobin with the rubber chicken. Boogaloo then takes down Drake and takes Homicide. He hits a cradle suplex and a tombstone before hitting a double stomp off of the top rope. Tobin comes in and gets tossed around before getting hit with a clothesline/half nelson suplex for the win (2:49) ½*.

Thoughts: The Sinners got their win back from the first show. Their act isn’t all that great though.

Low Ki tells Daniels that he defeated him the last time they met and that he is the best athlete. Ki then tells Daniels that he will respect him after their match.

Round Robin Challenge

“Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels vs. Low Ki

Ki extends his hand but Daniels slaps it away so Ki slaps him. He chops the shit out of Daniels then hits him with a roundhouse kick. He gets a nearfall with a rolling heel kick and follows that with some headbutts. Daniels fights back but Ki takes him down and stretches him out then follows that with three vicious kicks to the head. Ki works a headlock until Daniels puts him in the corner. Ki then uses a hanging armbar then kicks Daniels in the face. Daniels fights back and hits a clothesline. He hits a few suplexes then takes him off the ropes with a leg drop. Daniels uses a half crab as the fans start a chant for Low Ki. Daniels switches to a bow-and-arrow lock for a bit and breaks to hit a falcon arrow for a near fall. Daniels hits an uranage but misses the BME and Ki takes him down with a springboard kick. Ki is up first and they have a reversal sequence that ends with both guys trading chops. Daniels takes Ki off of the top turnbuckle with a necksnap then hits the Angels Wings but that only gets two as Daniels did not hook the leg. He picks him up again but Ki rolls through and hits the Ki Krusher as both men are down. Daniels is up and tries for the Last Rites but Ki reverses it to the Dragon Clutch and gets the win via submission (11:02) ***. After the match, Daniels grabs the mic and says that despite the fact that he tapped out to him, he isn’t going to shake his hand because this was his second match of the night and Ki’s win doesn’t prove anything. Daniels then brings up the RoH Title and leaves the ring and heads down to the locker room where Da Hit Squad confront him.

Thoughts: The handshake angle with Daniels is a lame idea but it does fit in with the handshake rule. Even lamer is Daniels going on making excuses for his losses. I get that heels do that but in this context, it doesn’t work.

Divine Storm and the SATs are shown playing basketball earlier this afternoon. They are really short and really terrible at basketball. Divine Storm leaves angrily after losing and throws the ball across the gym.

Chris Marvel w/ Masado vs. Paul London w/ Rudy Boy Gonzales

Corino puts over London by saying how Terry Funk put him over in an “RF Video” shoot interview. London grabs a side headlock then they work an Irish whip sequence. London hits a few kicks and Marvel rolls outside. London stops on a dive then hits a quebrada but Marvel legitimately breaks his leg the match ends (2:08) ¼*. Marvel’s leg is twisted around completely and its just a gruesome injury. London was legitimately freaked out when this happened.

Thoughts: London showed some flashes of potential during the match and Marvel was at least competent in the ring.

Jay Briscoe w/ Mark Briscoe vs. Spanky

The match starts off with both guys going back and forth. They take a break then lockup again and start to chain wrestle. Some of it was pretty sloppy. Briscoe then gets a nearfall off of a snap suplex then that leads to another sloppy sequence of reversals. Briscoe tries to hit the Jay Driller off of the top rope but Spanky pancakes him in midair and takes control. He puts on a chinlock but Brsicoe fights back. Spanky blocks a suplex then starts to act really cocky between moves as he takes control. He hits a reverse leg sweep for two then works a neck vise. Briscoe blocks the Sliced Bread #2 and that busts up Spanky’s forehead badly. Briscoe kills him with a German suplex then fires away. Gordbuster gets two as Spanky’s face is covered in blood. Spanky fights back with a leg lariat but gets booted down. He places Spanky on top but he fights off Briscoe and sends him to the floor and follows him out with a double springboard splash. Back in the ring, Spanky flies off the top but Briscoe gets his knees up then folds him in half with a powerbomb that only gets two. The crowd starts a Spanky chant as he floats over on a suplex then hits Briscoe with the Sliced Bread #2 for the win (11:02) **1/2. After the mask, Mark mocks his brother Jay for losing.

Thoughts: The match started off a bit rocky but ended up being solid overall. Spanky showed a ton of potential and was fantastic at acting like a douchebag. I forgot how talented he was as he was neutered when he got to the WWE and didn’t give a fuck while he was there at the end.

The American Dragon won the Texas Wrestling Academy poll at 64%. Gabe Sapolsky was seen in the video.

Elimination Match

Divine Storm vs. Spanish Announce Team vs. Brian XL & Amazing Red

The match is under Lucha Rules. Divine and XL engage in an over-choreographed reversal sequence to start. Most of this match was an over-choreographed reversal sequence, just to let you know. Joel and Quiet Storm slap each other and that draws applause from the crowd. Steve Corino plugs his newest shoot interview as Joel hits a poor excuse of a hurricarana on Red. Storm takes out Joel with a suicide dive and that starts a trainwreck spot that ends with Red botching a quebrada. Red and Storm work a fast-paced sequence that at least looks good but Joel tags himself in and the match gets worse. Joel takes down Storm with a superplex but Red comes off the top rope with a kneedrop then springs off of his back to hit the Red Star Press onto Storm for the pin (7:49). Joel hits a backdrop driver on Red for a nearfall then Jose and Brian work a really shitty sequence that ends with Brian hitting a Michinoku driver after Jose turned his 450 into a powerbomb. Red then takes Joel off of the turnbuckle with a sunset bomb. Red misses a Red Alert then Brian XL recklessly lands on Joel’s shirt after a springboard drive. Brian and Red then fight with each other as Jose rolls up Red for the win (12:20) ¼*. The shoving match between the partners continues after the match

Thoughts: Just an awful and overly long spotfest. The SAT’s and Brian XL did not belong anywhere near a wrestling ring.

Low Ki cuts a generic promo on the American Dragon hyping their match.

Round Robin Challenge

American Dragon vs. Low Ki

Before the match starts, Ken Shamrock comes out and asks for the microphone and says that both guys impress him and would be honored to be the referee for this match. He says you can win the match by knockout and there are no count-outs. Match starts with both guys taking it on the mat. Ki hits some mounted punches as they wrestle this like an MMA bout. Neither guy can gain the upper hand as they go back and forth. After five minutes they end in a stand off then go right back to the mat. Dragon locks on a cross armbreaker from the mat then headbutts Ki as he tries to fight him off. Dragon drops Ki, who rolls on the apron for a breather. Dragon puts him in another hold but Ki kicks him in the face and he spills outside. Back in the ring, Ki grounds Dragon, who reverses, as the announcers tell us that AJ Styles will make his RoH debut next month against Low Ki and that Eddy Guerrero will be here next week. Corino tells us that he is in the WWF. Dragon grapevines the leg then gets on a crossface but Ki reaches the ropes. Ki fights back with knee strikes and kicks but Dragon takes him down. After a brief struggle, Dragon hits a back suplex then chops Ki all over the place. Ki kicks Dragon in the face after he attempted a surfboard as both men are down. Ki is up first and destroys Dragon with a barrage of chops and kicks. He locks on a Dragon Sleeper then switches to a Cobra Clutch. Dragon runs around and through the ropes as Ki maintains the hold. Spit is coming out of Dragon’s mouth as Ki rolls him in the ring and gets two. Ki hits a few double stomps but Dragon fights out of a Ki Krusher and hits a roaring elbow. Dragon suplex gets two. He heads up top but Ki gets his knees up on a headbutt attempt as both men are down. The crowd is super into this match by the way. Ki hits Dragon with the Tidal Wave then gets two off of a dragon suplex. Ki then puts Bryan in the Cattle Mutilation but Dragon counters and puts Ki in the Ki Klutch. Bryan uses a neck vise then tosses Ki and that gets two. Northern Lights suplex gets two. They trade chops then Dragon catches Ki with a dropkick as he attempted a springboard kick in a great spot. Ki comes back with a brainbuster but struggles to make the pin and only gets two. He kicks Dragon in the face repeatedly before hitting him with the Ki Krusher, which only gets two as the fans give that a standing ovation. Ki is shocked, then hits a backbreaker but Dragon gets his knees up on the Phoenix Splash. Dragon gets two off of a dragon suplex then places him on the top turnbuckle and hits a back suplex but that only gets two as well. They fight up top and that ends with Ki hitting a Ki Krusher, causing the crowd to start a “holy shit” chant. Ki tries the Tidal Wave but Dragon catches him with a full nelson and hits a suplex for two. He locks on the Cattle Mutilation but Ki grabs the ropes so he puts it on again after dragging him into the middle of the ring. Shamrock checks to see if Ki is conscious and he isn’t so Dragon wins the match (32:12) ****1/2. The crowd starts a Dragon chant after the match and then applauds both guys. After the match, Dragon grabs the mic and thanks the fans for coming out tonight and also thanks his opponent. The crowd starts another Dragon chant.

Thoughts: What an awesome match. The chain wrestling at the beginning was fantastic and these guys clicked in all aspects in the ring. After a long show, this match at the end was well worth the wait.

Backstage, Spanky accuses Dragon of stuffing the ballot box. Paul London and Simply Luscious are there too and it ends with London, Spanky, and Dragon all taking shots at each other.

Final Thoughts: If you take away the Round Robin matches, this show was pretty damn bad. The promotion couldn’t decide if they wanted to be an old-school promotion with the handshakes or try to use all insider terms on commentary and in backstage segments. It was a mess. Plus, the constant plugs of RF shoot interviews were grating. We get it, Rob. Besides the Round Robin, Spanky shows a lot of promise and is the most entertaining character on the show.

Author: Brian Bayless