ROH FIRST ANNIVERSARY SHOW LIVE REPORT
by Mike Johnson
Ring of Honor ran their first anniversary show on 2/8 at the Elks Lodge in Queens, New York. The show was a resounding success for the group in their debut in the New York market, drawing in the area of 650-700 fans. Complete results of the show were as follows:
*EZ Money won a Four Way Match, defeating Chad Collyer, Colt Cabana, and Michael Shane in 15:18. This was a tremendous opener with lots of near falls and great spots. Money won with his release suplex.
*The Texas Wrestling Academy's Don Juan, Fast Eddie, and Hotstuff Hernandez defeated The Carnage Crew of HC Loc, Tony DeVito, and Masada by DQ in 5:42 when the Crew began hitting their opponents with hubcaps. TWA trainer Rudy Boy Gonzales tried to make the save and got in the face of Masada, a former student, but was laid out with a chair. "YMCA" began playing and out came the Christopher Street Connection of Mace and Buff-E(returning from a short retirement) to clean house. The CSC then celebrated with a big kiss in the center of the ring. Seriously. Crowd was big time into the return of the CSC and the match itself was solid and brutal.
*In what was billed as their final singles meeting in Ring of Honor, Jay Briscoe pinned brother Mark Briscoe after a trifecta of Jay-Drillers in 16:40. As someone who has seen these two work before, this was easily their best match together to date and off the charts awesome. Jay and Mark hugged after the match and will soon be teaming for the promotion.
*Steve Corino defeated Homicide via submission in 12:17. The storyline here was that Homicide was out after missing a running dive to the floor when Corino moved and he crashed into a chair. Corino cut a long promo before the show saying that he was going to call the shots in the promotion in 2003 and announced members of his heel group, with the crew being valet Simply Luscious, Samoa Joe, Michael Shane and CW Anderson. Since Anderson had been "fired" from the promotion, promoter Gabe Sapolsky began screaming at him that he wasn't booked for the promotion. Corino said they wanted Low Ki for the final member of the group, setting up a future storyline. After Corino continued to choke out Homicide, Homicide's crew (his actual students from the former LIWF Doghouse school) hopped the rail with Corino's group brawling with them. This was teased when Homicide said on the mic that "his boys" were going to be watching his back. This soon escalated into a full blown brawl with workers and security battling them all over the place. The heat for the brawl following the Corino vs. Homicide match was off the charts and easily one of the greatest spectacles I have seen live ever and the best I have seen for as long as I can recall from recent memory. Words cannot due justice to the angle and they are going to do have to do one hell of a job on editing to capture the feel of the building on video. Off the charts awesome. The booking was perfect and I cannot even begin to tell you how many people came up to me afterwards asking what the deal was or believing there was no way it was a work.
After they cleared the ring, the promotion announced they were going to intermission.
*CW Anderson came out during the ring introductions of The Outkast Killahs vs. The Ring Crew Express of Dunn & Marcos, as Gary Michael Cappetta said that he demanded interview time. Anderson said that he just laid out 30 New Yorkers and told all four he was going to give them a chance to leave the ring. When they didn't, he said them all out and pinned them. He said he was up to 24 New Yorkers, and issued a challenge to anyone in the crowd or the locker room. Out came CM Punk, who said that he'd face Anderson since unlike other people, Anderson actually showed up. This was a nod to Reckless Youth, who was scheduled to debut under the name "Technician" Tom Carter but never showed or called the promotion beforehand. The promotion later received word he was in a car accident. There are still plans to bring him in. Punk scored the pin after a good back and forth contest in 9:42.
*In an off the charts brutal stiff match, American Dragon Bryan Danielson defeated Samoa Joe in 15:22. Dragon was super sore after the match. If you haven't seen these guys do their things in person, it really doesn't translate.
*Paul London won a three-way Dance over AJ Styles and Low Ki in 18:50 to win a ROH championship match against Xavier immediately afterwards. Lots of innovative three way spots including a Three-Way Dragon Clutch. Fans were chanting "Match of the Year" afterwards. Xavier jumped London to start the match.
*ROH champion Xavier pinned London in 19:33. Lots of near falls with the crowd believing London was going to win the championship. Alexis Laree came out during the show to lay out Xavier's manager Alison Danger. London received a standing ovation after the match and did a speech saying he would never stop trying to win the ROH championship. London worked a legitimate 37 minutes during the show. London took a huge step from being just an indy worker to an indy superstar on this night, and it couldn't happened to a harder worker.
*The team of Da Hit Squad, The SAT, Divine Storm, and Mikey Whipwreck (booked as a surprise when The Amazing Red was called to go to Japan) defeated Special K of Jodie Fleisch, Izzy, Dixie, Slim J, Deranged, Angel Dust, Hydro, Yeyo, and Slugger in a Tag Team Scramble match in 33:37. Whipwreck and his team came out in face paint. During the bout, Mikey laid out all the other faces with Whippersnappers and left the ring. There were a lot of spots in the bout, some of which worked and some of which didn't. Jodie Fleisch was out on his feet for part of the match after a hard hit. The match wasn't able to follow the rest of the show at all, but it wasn't for effort. It just never clicked and the crowd lost interest in this as it went on way too long. It ended the show flat, but nothing could deny the efforts of the ROH crew as a whole. This match was easily out of place on the card as it was all over the place. Those involved are well aware that they had the ball and dropped it.
Notes: This was easily one of the best live events I have seen. With the exception of the Tag Scramble match, which was not able to follow the rest of the show at all, the crowd heat was tremendous almost like a mix of an old school Crockett NWA crowd or an ECW crowd without the vulgarity. The crowd was into everything on the show and knew all of the characters, which says a lot about their video sales since they have no exposure beyond those and the Internet in NYC. The show was better than any event ECW has ever run in the building....There were fans from Michigan, England, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the Boston area in attendance....The promotion plans to run Queens several times a year for major events, but will not be running monthly shows as it isn't cost effective. They broke their record for attendance at the show and were highly appreciative of the fans...For those wondering who those guys who hopped the rail were last night they were (among others) The Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz, J-Train, Laithon, Lowlife Louie Ramos, Kash, Kaos, Big, Diami, and Wrecka. My own thoughts on the riot was that it was outright awesome live and extremely well booked. I should note that I was sitting in the balcony, so if I was a fan who was sitting ringside in the middle of all that out of control chaos, I'd probably feel different. I think this was something ROH probably needed to do to create a little controversy and interest, but at the same time it could have backfired on them. There were quite a few fans I heard from today who left at that point in the show, so the realism was that far off the charts, but if it's going to keep those fans from returning, that is enough of a reason to suggest they never do that ever again. It certainly makes Homicide look like one hell of a babyface in NYC.
ROHÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s First Anniversary Show can be ordered at ROHWrestling.com.