ROH NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS LIVE REPORT: NEW ROH CHAMPION CROWNED
by Mike Johnson
Along with Buck Woodward and Jim Quigley, I attended yesterday's Ring of Honor return in Philadelphia, PA. Complete results saw:
Doug Williams defeated Chris Daniels to win Great Britain's Frontier Wrestling Alliance championship in a good match in 19:13. This should air in Great Britain in some fashion for the FWA and will begin the build for a joint ROH-FWA show on 5/17 in the UK. Williams also became the top contender to the ROH title here, so we're looking at Williams vs. Samoa Joe down the line.
Samoa Joe won the ROH championship from Xavier in 11:56, which continues to build the feud between Daniels' group and Steve Corino's stable. This was OK, but didn't strike me as a match that should have ended the show. Crowd loved Joe's winning, as they have been dying to see the belt off Xavier.
Earlier in the night Joe teamed with CW Anderson and the debuting Jack Victory to go to a no contest with Homicide and Da Hit Squad in 7:15 after Anderson hit a spinebuster through a trashcan. If that doesn't break the Code of Honor, I don't know what does. Victory was a substituting for Michael Shane, who went to the hospital with a bad stomach flu or food poisoning. Shane got back in time to show up to superkick Chris Daniels at the onset of the Joe vs. Xavier bout. After the six man tag, they did the riot bit again with Lowlife Louie Ramos, The Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz, and J-Train all hitting the ring. The riot thing has completely run it's course. The Philly crowd was wise to it, unlike the Boston crowd and was chanting for Ramos, who actually did a spot with Abdullah the Butcher here in December. I love the Scoundrelz as they are one of my favorite young teams but they just don't strike me as these hard edged types who would run with Homicide (who did train them). They did a catfight with Simply Luscious and New York based indy valet Becky Bayless during this segment as well. Bayless was taking photos and signing for fans before the show. She shouldn't do that again given the role she was playing. The plan is to do Homicide and his crew and Dusty Rhodes vs. Corino's group (but not Corino as he has to work Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan for Zero-One).
My favorite bout of the night was a great Jodie Fleisch vs. Low Ki match, which Ki won in 19:41 with a top rope Ki Krusher. They had the scary moment of the night about 15 seconds before that as they nearly fell backwards off the top rope as they almost lost their balance. Just a phenomenal bout that is worth checking out when the tape makes the rounds. They dropped Fleisch from working as part of the Special K crew and worked an excellent match mixing striking and high flying, including some spots I've never seen before. The promotion easily vindicated the Fleisch vs. Amazing Red match a few months back where Special K ran in following a short match. Fleisch is scheduled to return in May.
Hotstuff Hernandez, who has worked All Japan before, was on the undercard as part of the Christopher Street Connection teaming with Mace against the Carnage Crew (who work really hard and have awesome promos). Crew won in 6:21. Hernandez is money in the bank. The second a large promotion sees him, they are going to scramble to get him. He's green but anyone that huge with that much fire and the ability to pull off one hell of a tope is going to turn heads.
There was also a very good AJ Styles and Red ROH Tag Team championship defense over the Briscoe Brothers in 16:25. Alexis Laree was in the corner of Styles and Red. This is worth tracking down as well. Paul London missed the show due to his sinus surgery but will return to the ring on 4/5 at the ECWA Super 8. He'll be facing Low Ki here on 4/12, which sounds awesome on paper.
ROH may have saved the Scramble Match from all the damage incurred from the New York City debacle as Special K, managed by Mikey Whipwreck defeated the SATs and Quiet Storm after Whipwreck interfered in 6:26. Jose Maximo looked the most fired up I've seen him in some time. Really insane amount of spots. For everything they missed, they hit and came up with 5 insane new things. Whipwreck laid out his students with the Whippersnapper to set up the pin. The right finish for the storyline although after watching all six hit everything in the book, it came off a little flat. Special K's huge bodyguard, Slugger, was confronted by another huge African American guy wearing a suit who came out of the crowd. That was Mega from NY indies. Crowd was into that a lot considering they had no idea who he was.
The low point of the show came as Raven teamed with Colt Cabana vs. Ace Steele and CM Punk. This went 21:16 and was a waste of time. Punk was great on the mic as a heel, but whatever magic he and Raven had last week in Boston was completely gone here. Raven announced it was his "Clockwork Orange" bout. I guess that has something to do with Triple H style promos on Raw as they did mic work forever here. When they started to work, and then they went into an old school style tag match. Huh? It just seemed to go on and on, although the crowd wanted to like it and clapped for the big spots. They eventually did trashcans, chairs, and tables but it never clicked. Punk was bleeding from the back from hitting a top rope elbow through a table. Cabana turned on Raven afterwards. Maybe Raven will bring in Blue Meanie to do a danceoff with Cabana. OK, maybe not! ROH intends to bring Raven in as a regular, and said he was hurt, which limited the bout. I think this would have been better placed earlier in the card.
Backseat Boyz worked as a surprise, defeating Dunn and Marcos in 5:19 to set up their working the 4/12 doubleheader matinee at 5 PM before CZW's Best of the Best 3 show that night. BJ Whitmer won a Four Way over Matt Striker, Alex Arion, and Dixie in11:25. Striker and Whitmer stood out here. Arion looked the best of what little I've seen of his work. Joey Matthews was backstage before the show.
Overall, it was a show with two great matches and a few OK bouts, so for me, it was an in the middle ROH show. I know the promotion was happy with the end result, but just didn't strike me as awesome or anything. This show didn't come close to their amazing New York show, although that was off the charts awesome. It reminded me of an ECW Arena event before ECW would have a blowaway show. That said, the crowd seemed to have a good time, even during the Raven match which I detested. They return on 4/12 with Low Ki vs. London, Colt Cabana vs. Homicide vs. Matt Striker vs. the debuting Tom Carter/Reckless Youth, CM Punk vs. B.J. Whitmer, and the aforementioned Homicide, Dusty Rhodes, etc vs. CW Anderson, etc.
ROH Night of Champions can be ordered at ROHWrestling.com.