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ROH YEAR ONE ARCHIVE: A LOOK BACK AT RING OF HONOR'S INFANCY IN 2002

By Mike Johnson on 2004-12-21 11:00:00


ROH CROWNING A CHAMPION

ROH CROWNS FIRST CHAMPION IN ONE HOUR MATCH
by Mike Johnson

RF Video's Ring of Honor promotion crowned it's first ROH champion last night at their Philadelphia, PA event in the Murphy Recreation Center as Low Ki outlasted Christopher Daniels, Spanky, and Doug Williams in a One Hour Marathon Match which received a standing ovation from the estimated 450+ fans in attendance.

With rules stating that a win would give the wrestler 2 points and a loss would subtract a point, Christopher Daniels handed Low Ki his first pinfall loss in ROH in 25:31. Low Ki forced Spanky to tap out, bringing the scores at Daniels 2 points, Low Ki 1 point, Spanky -1, Williams 0. Low Ki then forced Doug Williams at 48:47, bringing Ki's total up to 3 points and putting him in the lead. No other falls took place and Ki became the champion as the 60 minute time limit expired as he fought not to tap out to Daniels while trapped in his own finisher The Dragon Clutch. The bout ran a legitimate 60 minutes from bell to bell.

Interestingly enough, the booking featured Daniels pinning Low Ki in the match, and never getting pinned once, thus giving "The Fallen Angel" a reason to continue his storyline tirades against the Ring of Honor promotion. The final point totals were Low Ki 3 points, Daniels 2 points, Spanky -1, Williams -1.

Spanky headed to a Zero-One tour and Daniels to a Michinoku Pro tour late because they didn't want to miss the booking. That says worlds about what they think of ROH as a company. The match was excellent and a very well laid out bout that never slowed down, and this was easily one of best live bouts I can recall seeing, but that said, I honestly felt like the four could do even better if given another chance, which is almost mind-boggling to say even as I write it. The match is a must-see when the video is available.

Other results from ROH's event last night:

*Tony Mamaluke forced the debuting Jeremy Lopez to tap out.

*Christian York and Joey Matthews defeated Prince Nana and Jacobs Ladder. York and Matthews were accompanied by Alexis Laree. After the match, the victors were confronted by the Christopher Street Connection and Alison Danger which turned into a brawl after Danger hit on Laree.

*In a Texas Wrestling Academy Challenge, Michael Shane and Biohazard defeated Paul London and Don Juan with Shane scoring the pin to win a "ROH contract." London had a simultaneous pin at the same time, but the referee awarded Shane the win. London and Shane got into it after the bout, but were held apart by TWA trainer Rudy Gonzales and the others in the match.

*Da Hit Squad defeated Quiet Storm and Chris Divine.

*James Maritato (aka ECW's Little Guido) pinned Jay Briscoe with the Kiss of Death after Jay's younger brother Mark distracted Jay by walking out on the match. There has been an ongoing storyline where the younger Briscoe has been happy to see his brother losing, and when Jay was on the verge of victory, Mark walked out to distract him and cause his pinfall loss.

*In an old school Bunkhouse match complete with Dusty Rhodes-esque jeans with the kneepads atop of them, The Natural Born Sinners, Homicide and Boogaloo defeated The Carnage Crew, HC LOC and Tony Devito. All four men bled with Devito submitting after Boogaloo choked him out with barbed wire across his mouth. The Crew attacked the Sinners afterwards and laid them out. Da Hit Squad made the save, but afterwards the Sinners were upset with Da Squad.

*NWA TNA X Division champion AJ Styles defeated David Young and Adam Jacobs in a Three-Way Dance. Young was pinned by Styles, followed by Styles pinning Jacobs in a top rope Styles Clash. AJ busted his head open hardway on the ring apron early in the match.

*In a six man tag, Mike Tobin of the Boogie Knights, Marcos and Dunn defeated Dixie, Brian XL and Black Gordon. A large unnamed African American male in a suit hopped the railing and chokeslammed everyone before hopping the rail again and leaving through one of the side doors of the building.

*Scoot Andrews pinned Xavier with the Force of Nature. Andrews had promised to leave ROH had he lost the bout.

Notes: Amazingly hot crowd for the show, as the fans were into everything. There were fans from all over the Northeastern seaboard and from as far away as Scotland at the event....Mark Briscoe makes his in-ring debut for the promotion on 8/24 at the promotion's Boston debut....Steve Corino vs. American Dragon and the debut of Michael Modest from Pro Wrestling NOAH was announced for the ROH return to Philadelphia on 9/21....Gary Michael Cappeta was in attendance and got a nice round of applause from the crowd when announced.

CROWNING A CHAMPION THOUGHTS
by Jess McGrath

Last night, Ring of Honor promoted their fifth show in Philadelphia, built around a 60:00 four-way Ironman match to determine the first ROH champion. The first time I went to ROH was back in March, and my feeling at the time was that, for my tastes, they were doing too much of the same thing in every match. That's no longer the case. This was an excellent show that gave a little bit of everything. There was the Moondogs style plunder match (Loc & DeVito vs. Homicide & Boogalou), which got over strong with the crowd. There was the Christopher Street Connection's ha-ha stuff, including a catfight between Allison Danger and Alexis Laree. And of course there was lots of solid wrestling.

It's a waste of words to attempt to describe just exactly how good the main event was, because it can't be done justice in print. This was probably the best match I've ever seen live. Just tremendous. Near flawless execution, amazing moves, a great storyline throughout with Christopher Daniels and Low-Ki. Doug Williams is phenomenal. I was very impressed by his work in the King of Indies tournament in California last year, but he was off the charts here. Any arguments about Match of the Year can't be made without first seeing this one.

The undercard was very good. The only thing that seemed to be universally panned was the six-man tag that came right after intermission, which thankfully I missed. The Mamaluke-Lopez opener was solid. Another thing I was thankful about was the shortness of the Christian & Joey vs. Prince Nana & his new partner match. Nothing against Christian and Joey, of course. The Texas Wrestling Academy match was pretty good. Paul London took some bumps that made me cringe. He's going to have a short career if he keeps that up. The finish where two guys are scoring pins simultaneously is always a tough one to pull off credibly, but they did a decent job with it. Post-match angle with London and Michael Shane was good. James Maritato-Jay Briscoe was a backdrop for the angle with Jay and brother Mark. Crowd seemed to be into it. Maritato is a great worker. Mike Johnson called him the "2002 version of Beautiful Bobby Eaton", which if you think about it seems pretty apropos. Hit Squad-Divine Storm was fine. Finish was a little weak, as one of the Hit Squad appeared to have trouble getting his opponent up high for the powerbomb. DHS seemed to run out of gas near the finish. I liked Styles-Young-Jacobs, although Jacobs was a bit disappointing here. Styles looked fantastic. That was a nasty hardway gash on his head too. Scoot Andrews-Xavier was a victim of card placement. Going on right before the strongly anticipated main event, they had no chance. It was smart to keep it short.

For the next Philadelphia show on 9/21, they announced American Dragon vs. Steve Corino, plus Michael Modest and the crowning of the first ROH tag team champions. Dragon-Corino stemmed from a promo cut by Rudy Boy Gonzalez. Corino has been dogging Gonzalez as a trainer in his commentary on the ROH video tapes. Low-Ki's first title defense will be at the 8/24 Wakefield, MA show vs. A.J. Styles.

One note about those ROH tapes: One of the best things they do on those is cut down ring entrances and the extra-curricular BS to just a few seconds. Nothing is more tedious for me than turning on a tape and being greeted by ten minutes of the ring announcer coming out, making introductions, the playing of the national anthem, every guy's ring entrance taking five minutes, etc. Other indies would be smart to follow their lead on that one and tighten up the tapes.

ROH Crowning A Champion can be ordered at ROHWrestling.com.


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