RING OF HONOR IN GLEN BURNIE, MARYLAND LIVE REPORT; NEW ROH TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS
By Marcus Dowling
Ring of Honor made their Maryland debut Thursday evening 10/16 at MichaelÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, Maryland, the former home of Maryland Championship Wrestling. On a night dominated by Game 7 of a tightly contested series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, and WWEÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s Smackdown, ROH drew a standing room only crowd of 500 plus individuals, an impressive feat.
The show opened with Gary Michael Cappetta putting over the history of professional wrestling in Baltimore, however, he was interrupted by Prince Nana, who demanded a title shot against Samoa Joe.
Joe came out, and defeated Nana in roughly four minutes with his guillotine choke sleeper, then Joe, in a move usually done by the promotion in a new territory, put over the type of action to be seen in the organization.
He was then involved in a pull apart with Jay and Mark Briscoe, setting up the title match later on in the evening.
The first scheduled match featured a number of debuts in the organization, as in a scramble match, the team of Julius SmokesÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ Rottweilers of Slugger and NYC stalwart Grim Reefer defeated Dunn and Marcos, Slyk Wagner Brown and the debuting CZW, MLW Junior Heavyweight Champion (and former MCW veteran) Sonjay Dutt, and the team of the last MCW heavyweight champion Danny Doring and Northeast rising star Josh Daniels. The match was highlighted by SonjayÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s crisp spots in the ring with Reefer (they had an outstanding match last month in the USA Pro organization), including the impressive Hindu (Skytwister) Press. Daniels, who made his debut last month in ROH, really impressed the crowd as well with his solid matwork. Slugger got the pinfall following a Bodybag on Marcos at roughly the 10 minute mark.
Next, we were treated to a Field of Honor match between Matt Stryker and Chris Sabin. One note from tonight, the TNA weekly performers were truly over given their TV exposure, as the performers truly appreciated by ROH faithful, like Stryker, truly had to work to get over with the Glen Burnie crowd. Match was a bit sloppy, as Stryker and Sabin apparently were sweating from the bright lights at MichaelÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s. Matche featured a great finish, as Sabin rolled the Stryker Driver positioning into a pinfall, however Stryker continued to roll through the pinfall into a Stryker Driver for the pin.
Note from this match: Bleeding regulations in the state of Maryland were closely enforced tonight, as Sabin was bused open hardway on the Stryker Driver finish, and was tended to immediately with towels while recovering in the ring after the match.
From there, Colt Cabana and BJ Whitmer had another Field of Honor match, won by Cabana with a unique rolling clutch lock into a bridge. This match really defined the old school nature of the evening, as the normally hard hitting Whitmer instead delivered an entertaining 12 minute match with Cabana. Cabana stalled in a manner to only be envied by Larry Zbyszko, and even worked the iron claw into the match, which drew one of the loudest pops of the night from the Glen Burnie crowd.
Following this, we were treated to a dual announcement. Foremost, ROH will return to MichaelÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s on Thursday, January 12th, with an 8 PM bell time. Even further, former MCW promoter Dan McDevitt told the crowd that in July, ROH would present the Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup. This continues in the long, growing list of meaningful behavior by the promotion, as the Shamrock Cup was one of the main drawing cards of MCW, a ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“Best of the BestÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â style, one night tournament that defined MCW, and will likely keep many MCW fans interested in ROH.
Next, in a shocker, for numerous reasons, The Special K team of Izzy and Dixie (known as the ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“H EffectÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â in Jersey All Pro Wrestling) defeated the Backseat Boyz to capture the ROH Tag Team championships. The Backseats, who often performed in MCW, had a tremendous old style tag match with Special K, as the usual high flying acrobatics of Special K were grounded by the unusually low ceiling at MichaelÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s 8th Avenue. Given the lack of familiarity with Special K, the antics were not missed, and, even further, Dixie and Izzy truly showed their stylistic flexibility. The finish came after a fast and furious series of near falls and interferences by the members of Special K at ringside, and after a Dixie belt shot, Special K made the pinfall after 10 minutes of action. Of note was the performance of Lit (Jamie Daniels in NUMEROUS other promotions), who totally gets the drug-induced gimmick of Special K, and whose interactions with the ringside crowd are absolutely fantastic.
Post match, the Carnage CrewÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s HC Loc, who just became ROHÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s first backstage agent, chaged the ring to attack Special K, and, upon being overcome, was saved by Julius Smokes, Reefer and Slugger of the Rottweilers, although no connection was explained to the crowd.
The match leading into the intermission featured CM Punk and AJ Styles. Styles was super over here, and , conspicuous by its absence was the NWA Heavyweight Championship, possibly due to the fact that it was not in defense in this match. Styles was SUPER over here. Punk cut his usual introductory promo to the Glen Burnie crowd, proclaiming his straight edge dominance. IÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ll just say that this was the first match that made the tape of this show a necessary buy, and, after 25-30 minutes, Styles got the pinfall after turning PunkÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s shining wizard attempt into a Styles Clash. In a note from this match, AJ Styles has grown in leaps and bounds as a mat based wrestler. Even further, CM Punk, who is the trainer at the new ROH school, is as close to a complete package of an athlete as you get in professional wrestling these days.
Post intermission, Dan Maff beat the bejezus out of Jimmy Rave in a Field of Honor match in his ROH return. True to form, Maff worked his head injury into this match as a spot, when, after taking a Rave DDT, he sold his head injury. However, it was merely a fake spot,.and, the finish came after a BRUTAL looking Burning Hammer. Coincidentally, Jimmy Rave was mathematically eliminated from winning the Field of Honor championship.
Raven and Justin Credible fought a great old school NWA title match. The story here involved Justin stating that he was tired of reading the sheets and 1wrestling.com, and hearing that Raven had revitalized himself, and that he wanted to show how great he was. After 10 minutes, Raven got the victory following the Raven Effect DDT. Raven, in another stellar performance, told a masterful knee story.
The 4 Corner Survival Match blew the roof off of MichaelÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s 8th Avenue. Homicide w/ Julius Smokes, Mark Briscoe, John Walters and Xavier had the match of the night. I wonÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢t even discuss this match. It was outstanding. Xavier has turned the corner again, and is back to his form from the 2001 series of matches with Low-Ki. As well, Homicide continues to have solid performances. To continue, John Walters really wowed the crowd with his intensity, as well as his combination camel clutch/standing Indian deathlock on Briscoe and Xavier. Xavier got the win after his unique Michinoku Driver on John Walters.
The main event told a great story, as Samoa Joe mauled Jay Briscoe with a Stan Hansen on Giant Baba lariat for the pinfall. Jay Briscoe sold like a champ throughout this match, taking a ridiculous beating from Samoa Joe. Mark Briscoe seconded his brother in a nice touch, cheering him on from ringside. Joe exhausted all of his finishing maneuvers, as Jay Briscoe could not get the J-Driller in time and was defeated. Samoa Joe played the role of the miserable prick champion to the hilt tonight, just being a real a** and getting some great heel heat from the crowd. Post match, Mark Briscoe charged the ring, angry that his brother was beaten so badly, and Samoa Joe summarily choked him out, getting nuclear heat from the crowd.
Notes from Mike Johnson: The promotion held a 10 bell salute for the late Stu Hart at the onset of the show....Chris Sabin went to the hospital after his match to receive stitches on the gash below his eye, described to me as a deep cut. He's OK....A crowd of 500 for the first time in the market and going up against Smackdown free on television is a strong sign for the promotion....I heard raves for Joe vs. Briscoe and the Four Way....The team of Slugga and Grim Reefer was a last minute substitute as Special K members Deranged and Hydro missed the show. Hydro is believed to have missed the show due to a personal commitment, while Deranged no-showed due to transportation issues. The company wasn't aware he was going to miss the show....The promotion has just released the video of their 8/16 Fairfield, CT event featuring what I feel was the best bout I saw live this past summer, Steve Corino vs. Homicide.
ROH Glory By Honor II can be ordered at ROHWrestling.com.