The SmarK Rant for Ring of Honor: Glory by Honor (10/05/02)
– Hey, I figured what the f*ck, right? In my eternal quest to try anything once, I got RF to send me a couple of tapes so I could see what all the fuss from Justin was about. Of course, being RF Video, they sent me two copies of the same show instead of two different shows, but then keep the source in mind.
– Taped from Philly.
– Your hosts are Jeff Gorman & Chris Levy (Gabe Sapolsky)
– Divine Storm v. Special K v. Homicide v. The SAT. This is a four-way scramble match, but Homicide is without a partner. No tags are needed, so it’s kinda lucha-style. Joel Maximo starts with Izzy of Special K and they do a criss-cross that leads into Izzy getting a kick combo and a rolling headscissor takedown. Joel gets an enzuigiri and chops away, then takes out the knee with a dropkick and works the knee with a modified Indian deathlock. Jose tags in (although tags aren’t needed) as does Quiet Storm, which leads to Jose getting a rana that leads into a reversal sequence to establish dÃƒÂ©tente. Jose bails and Chris Divine goes with Homicide next, and they do a sloppy reversal sequence that leads to Divine getting a backbreaker, but Homicide gets a shoulderbreaker for two. Dixie and Joel go next, leading to a two-on-two double-team move from the SAT called the “Taffy MachineÃ¢â‚¬Â, which is insanely hard to describe, but you can probably get an idea from the name. Everyone heads out and brawls, and back in the ring Izzy and Joel head up and fight for a superplex, but Joel clotheslines him in mid-air for a sick bump to the mat. Joel blocks a rana and gets the Maximo Explosion for two. Dixie comes in and goes low to set up a DDT for two. Chris Divine takes Joel’s place and suplexes Dixie, then gets an atomic drop into a dragon-screw to work on the leg. Jose takes Dixie’s place and gets a tornado DDT after a couple of tries, and Homicide comes in with a Shining Wizard to drop Jose. Quiet Storm blocks the same move and hits a backdrop suplex, but Izzy gets a rana off the top to stop the pinfall attempt. Homicide dives onto the guys on the floor, and Izzy gets tripped up trying his own. Jose gets one, as does Storm and Dixie. In the ring, we’ve got Divine and Izzy, but Divine opts for his own dive, leaving Izzy to finally get his. Back in, Homicide and Storm head to the top, and everyone follows. Yikes. They all come crashing off with a superplex that puts everyone out. That was more silly than impressive. Joel chops Dixie and tries a sunset flip, but gets dropped with an Emerald Fusion for two. Again on Divine, but Divine reverses to a rollup for two. They head up for something that looked like an attempt at a dragon suplex from the top, but it was more of an “in theoryÃ¢â‚¬Â idea. Jose goes up after a suplex and gets a splash for two. Storm charges and hits Jose’s elbow, but recovers with an inverted powerbomb for two. Jose gets a rana, and they fight over a suplex that turns into a Blue Thunder bomb for Maximo that gets two. Izzy puts Jose out and goes with Homicide, and they trade suplex attempts until Izzy gets a moonsault kick and goes up. That misses and Homicide gets a whiplash into a “cop killerÃ¢â‚¬Â (Vertebreaker). STF on Dixie finishes at 13:52. For what it was intended to be Ã¢â‚¬â€œ an insane highspot fest Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it was very good. As a wrestling match, forget it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no selling, no flow, no real story told, and finishing with a submission move after hitting your finisher on the OTHER guy is a bit silly, but this was all in good fun. ***
– The Backseat Boyz come out and get all in Homicide’s face, but he doesn’t have a partner! So he asks anyone to come out and help him, and Steve Corino answers.
– Homicide & Steve Corino v. The Backseat Boyz. Corino & Homicide attack to start, and it’s the time honored big brawl. Corino gets a powerslam while Acid and Homicide head up, leading to Homicide getting a Diamond Cutter off the top. The Boyz double-team Corino (and dance), and Cashmere gets two. Corino comes back with a backdrop suplex while Homicide fires off a highspot on Acid outside. Cashmere works on Corino’s neck and tries a dive, but walks into a superkick and Northern Lights bomb for two. Homicide gets a Yakuza kick on Acid in the corner to put him down, while Cashmere spears Corino. Another one for Homicide, but Corino catches him from behind from a cobra clutch. Acid breaks it up with a Yakuza kick of his own for two. He hits Homicide with a Blue Thunder bomb and the Backseats get a Hart Attack on Corino and do some Kaientai-ish double-teaming for two. Acid goes up and gets caught by Corino with a fisherman’s superplex. Homicide follows him down with a splash for two. Homicide and Corino have some miscommunication, however, and Corino superkicks Homicide to stop the finisher, and the Backseats finish him with a double-chokeslam for the pin at 6:44. That would be Corino’s heel turn. Bit of a mess. **
– The Christopher Street Connection & Allison Danger v. Joey Matthews & Christian York & Alexis. The CSC would be your standard gay tag team. The guys brawl out while the chicks slap each other, and the match starts proper with Matthews getting a gutbuster on Mace for two. Double-team DDT gets two. The CSC works on York in the corner, and Buffy gets a spinebuster and headbutt rather low. HHH & Steiner are still gayer than these guys. Double-team bulldog gets two. Mace does the old Goldust fondle for two. Alexis gets the hot tag and a tornado DDT on Mace for two. Matthews heads up and gets crotched by Buffy, allowing the heels to hit Alexis with a “gay basherÃ¢â‚¬Â (double-team buttdrop) for the pin at 4:49. I like York & Matthews, but this was played as a comedy match and it didn’t work. Ã‚Â½*
– James Maritato (Nunzio) reflects on the FBI gimmick. If Tony Mamaluke can beat him tonight, the FBI gimmick is his.
– Tony Mamaluke v. James Maritato. It’s funny hearing them talking about how Maritato wants to get serious, a few weeks before coming into the WWE as Crazy Cousin Nunzio. Mamaluke attacks to start and they do some mat-work, surprisingly won by Mamaluke. He works the arm, but Maritato takes him down with an armbar and it’s a standoff. Maritato takes him down with another armlock, but Mamaluke goes for the leg. So Maritato goes for HIS leg and they fight over that, as Maritato turns it into a bow-and-arrow. Nice. Tony makes the ropes. He goes for an anklelock, but Maritato makes the ropes as the Code of Honor is explained. Mainly it’s about clean finishes and no interference. Mamaluke takes him down with a dragonscrew into a half-crab, but again Maritato makes the ropes. Maritato reverses a slam attempt into a Herb Kunze armbar, but Mamaluke reverses that into a double-arm DDT and a facelock. Good stuff. Now it gets going, as Mamaluke charges and gets hotshotted, and Maritato gets a fameasser for two. Mamaluke comes back and works him over in the corner, but can’t gets a superplex. Maritato comes down with a missile dropkick for two. The tomikaze gets two. To the top, but Mamaluke stops him and follows him up with a superplex, holding on with the facelock for the tap at 8:30. Really good mat-based battle here, with a lot more selling and psychology than the other matches to this point. ***1/4
– Ikuto Hidaka v. Amazing Red. They fight over a waistlock and Red works the arm, into a stalemate. Hidaka grabs a headlock and dropkicks him down, and works the arm. Red comes back with a kick to the leg, which Hidaka answers. They exchange chops, and then head out for more of the same. Back in, more chops as they take it like MEN (even if Red isn’t one yet) and exchange some acrobatics for another stalemate. Red counters a tilt-a-whirl into a DDT that sends Hidaka out, but his highspot is foiled. Another try misses entirely, as Hidaka dropkicks him in mid-air. Camera totally missed it. Back in, Hidaka slugs away and starts with the chops again, into a spinning toehold to work the knee. Handspring misses and Red hits him with a crazy spinkick to set up a superplex, but Hidaka blocks. Red escapes a tornado DDT and tries another dive, but misses entirely and lands on his ass. That was pretty sick. Back in, Red does a crazy spinning bodyscissors into the armlock, but Hidaka makes the ropes. Red legsweeps him, but misses a splash, only to come back and get another try at it for two. Red pounds away in the corner with chops and ducks a charge, then charges himself and gets dropkicked going over the top with an alley-oop move. I think that defies physics, actually Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I guess they’re not part of the Code of Honor. They fight over a DDT, but Hidaka turns it into a kneecrusher and goes up for an Ohtani dropkick to the knee. Sell that knee, Red! You da man! Hidaka uses the kneebar, but Red makes the ropes. Red comes back with an enzuigiri and blocks a rollup, into an Eddy-Dean pinfall reversal sequence, and they fight over a german suplex into another pinfall reversal sequence that gives Hidaka a two. They clothesline each other for the double KO and slug it out, won by Hidaka with a superkick. Gory Special into a Diamond Cutter gets two. Hidaka goes for the finish, but Red snaps off a sunset flip powerbomb for two. Red goes up and gets dropkicked down, and Hidaka powerbombs him off, but Red counters and finishes with the “Infra-RedÃ¢â‚¬Â (spinning splash) for the pin at 13:39. I am informed that Hidaka’s orbital bone was broken on that finish. This was some fine junior heavyweight professional wrestling, however, with tons of good selling and counter-wrestling galore and a minimum of pointless highspots. Excellent job. ****1/4
– ETW TV title: Fast Eddie v. Don Juan. They fight over a hammerlock to start and do the old bridge pinfall sequence before Eddie kicks Don Juan down, but misses a charge. Juan gets an inverted DDT out of the corner for two. Apparently Eddie is legally blind. Well, if the wrestler thing doesn’t work out, he can always be an NFL referee then. Don comes back with a flying headscissors, but gets dumped. Eddie follows him with a quebrada and they head back in, but Juan clobbers him coming in and gets a Diamond Cutter for two. To the top, but Eddie knees him off and gets a blockbuster slam off the top for the pin at 3:24. Quick and decent little training match. *1/2 Biohazard takes the opportunity to attack both guys afterwards, and Steve Corino comes out to challenge Rudy Boy Gonzalez (the trainer of the guys in the match) to their Texas Death match.
– Texas death match: Steve Corino v. Rudy Boy Gonzalez. Rudy attacks with the microphone to start and gets a clothesline as Corino starts bleeding early. Yakuza kick gets the pin for Rudy, and Corino beats the count. Gonzalez pounds him in the corner and works the cut, and they brawl outside, which continues to go badly for Corino until he dodges a charge. They fight in the crowd and back inside as Corino works him over, and back outside for punishment with a chair. Back in, Corino goes low and elbows him in the corner for two. Backdrop gets two. Cobra clutch and Rudy Boy is going nowhere and is out. See, now that’s a smart way to win a fall in a Texas Death match, because you not only get a fall, you put him out, and indeed Rudy can’t beat the count at 8:00. Usual Corino brawl. *1/2 The Gonzalez-trained guys do a heel beatdown on him afterwards, but Paul London and his trusty ladder make the save.
– Low-Ki v. Samoa Joe. This would be a “fight without honorÃ¢â‚¬Â, so no code applies. They start with some MMA-type stuff on the mat, as Joe takes him down but gets ground-and-pounded. Joe headbutts him like a madman and elbows him into the mat. That’s kinda nuts. Joe goes for the knee with a half-crab that bends Low-Ki like a pretzel, but Ki chops out of it, which appears to have no effect. They slug it out with some stiff shots and Joe kicks him into putty, but misses a Yazuka kick. Low-Ki pounds on him and gets a nasty roundhouse kick, and a Koppo Kick to put him down. That’s nasty. He keeps up the stiffness, but Joe shakes him off and no-sells. Oh man. Joe hits his own insanely stiff clothesline for one. Joe keeps up the stiff kicks and a suplex gets two. Into the cross-armlock and they fight over that, as Joe floats into a crossface out of that. More chops from Joe and an enzuigiri sets up a german suplex for two. Low-Ki counters a death valley driver with an armlock in mid-move and chops away, and puts Joe down with another enzuigiri for two. Again with the double-chops and a high knee, into a tiger suplex for two. Back to the chops, but Low-Ki dropkicks the knee and goes back to the stiff kicks, and they slug it out with chops. Low-Ki wins that with an enzuigiri for one. Joe sends him into the corner and gets a Yakuza kick and some boot-burns. You wouldn’t think that a 300 pound guy would swipe from Ohtani, but there it is. Powerbomb gets two, and he goes into an STF on the kickout to keep him on the mat. Good stuff. Low-Ki reverses into a cross-armlock, but Joe makes the ropes. Low-Ki stays on the arm and does one of those crazy jumping armlocks, but Joe blocks it and holds him on the mat for two. In UFC, his arm would be broken, but it’s wrestling so it’s fine. Low-Ki hits him with a dangerous backdrop driver for two. Low-Ki gets a dragon sleeper, but Joe blocks it with a death valley driver for the double KO. Joe gets an Emerald Fusion for two. Joe keeps chopping and headbutting, but Low-Ki gets another enzuigiri. Joe is getting pissed, however, and he’s all BRING IT. They exchange the kicks to the back and each shrugs it off and preps for WAR. Oh man. They start stiffing the hell out of each other with kicks and clotheslines, and neither guy stays down until Joe gets a lariat to drop him. Spinning backhands from Joe, but Low-Ki kicks back with the Kawada kicks (not the sarcastic Trish type) and they’re both staggering. He keeps up the pressure with knees and Joe goes down for the pin at 16:25. What a great finish Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no goofy finisher, just beating the hell out of the guy until he drops. Absolutely brutal, strong style Japanese match and I loved it. ****1/2
– Prince Nana v. Elax. I’m gonna assume that Nana is the black guy, because I have no commentary here. He pounds on Elax and gets a senton and a double-underhook suplex for the pin at 0:55. DUD
– Xavier v. Jay Briscoe. Xavier takes him down to start and works the mat. Jay seems to be filling out since I last saw him in CZW. Jay goes to the arm, but Xavier reverses , and they fight over a headlock. Xavier goes to the leg and Briscoe grabs an armlock and they keep reversing until Xavier overpowers him and offers a slap to the face. He chops away, but gets rolled up for two. Jay elbows him and gets a legdrop, and a big boot for two. Xavier clotheslines him down for two, complete with arrogant Jericho cover. Overhead suplex gets two. Back kick gets two. Torture rack drop gets two. He misses a charge and Briscoe fires back and gets a death valley driver, but doesn’t cover. He dumps Xavier but misses a baseball slide. He goes up instead and comes out with a dive that misses completely, hitting the rail on the way down. Xavier whips him around outside and they head back in for a superplex attempt that fails once, but Jay falls into the Tree of Woe and gets speared. Back to the top, an inverted DDT gets two. Xavier goes to the chinlock, but Briscoe goes to a sleeper. Xavier escapes, but gets suplexed for two. They slug it out and Briscoe puts him down with a forearm and gets a gourdbuster, but decides to go up instead of doing something useful. Flying legdrop gets two. This match is just too slow. Xavier gets a cobra clutch into a clutch suplex for two. Powerbomb is escaped by Jay with a sunset flip, but Xavier rolls through into a double powerbomb, which Jay reverses again to a Jay Driller (Tiger Driver ’91) for the pin at 13:36. Kinda slow and long. ** Chris Daniels and Samoa Joe add the heel beatdown afterwards.
– Da Hit Squad v. Carnage Crew. This is falls count anywhere, and a piece of railing gets involved right away. Hit Squad dumps Loc and works on DeVito (who has gained some weight himself since WCW), and they brawl out. With three bald guys it’s hard to keep track of who’s who. Mafia pounds on DeVito with a chair and they fight to the back with a garbage can, but the Carnage Crew comes back with own chairshots. This really isn’t going anywhere. Monster Mack and DeVito throw each other into doors until DeVito ends up on a table. He escapes and the brawl continues, until DeVito piledrives Mafia through the table for the pin at 6:49. Bleh. *
– Spanky v. Michael Shane v. Paul London. It’s pretty obvious that Shane was trained by Shawn Michaels just from his look and ring entrance. Spanky jumps Shane to start and London dropkicks him. Spanky and London double-team him in the corner, but Spanky crosses up London and that leads to friction. London & Spanky start slugging it out and London gets a dropkick, but Spanky gets his own for two. Shane catches London from behind with an enzuigiri and dumps Spanky for the one-on-one portion with London. He clotheslines him and gets a flapjack for two. London gets a Northern Lights rolling suplex sequence into a blockbuster slam for two. Shane catches him with a neckbreaker for two. Spanky sneaks back in, but London gets two on Shane. Spanky dropkicks London for two. They head up and Spanky ends up on the mat, but London gets knocked off by Spanky in an ugly bump. Shane catches Spanky with a clothesline to block a highspot, and elbows him down, but a suplex to the floor is blocked by Spanky. Shane and London brawl on the floor and Spanky follows them out with a dive, and then London blows a quebrada. Shane chokes out Spanky with the railing, but London saves with a kick that sends him into the crowd. Back in, London goes up, but Spanky cuts him off, and Shane cuts HIM off and powerbombs him off, allowing London to try his SSP and miss. Shane superkicks him for the pin at 9:44 to leave Shane & Spanky. Good, I hate three-ways. Shane beats on him outside and they head back in for the chinlock. Shane dumps him again and beats on him outside, but gets reversed into the railing. Back in, Spanky misses an elbow from the top and Shane gets two. MAIN EVENT SLEEPER, reversed by Spanky. Well, he’s ready for the WWE all right. Another try by Shane leads to a clothesline, and Shane drops an elbow from the second rope for two. He looks EXACTLY like Shawn doing that move. German suplex is countered by Spanky with an Acid Drop (Sliced Bread #2, as it’s called, presumably because it’s the best thing since ) for two. Running forearm puts Shane down again, and they exchange weak shots in the corner. Spanky goes up with a springboard dropkick and makes the comeback with an enzuigiri for two. Northern Lights bomb and Spanky goes up with a frog splash for two. Shane comes back with a DDT for two. Spanky gets a backslide for two. He blocks a superkick, but another one hits and Shane goes up for the elbow, which finishes at 19:47. Kinda longish and lacking in solid transitions. Not actively BAD, but you could tell something was missing most of the way through. ***
– Doug Williams v. Christopher Daniels. If Williams loses, he can’t ever shake hands again, and if Daniels loses, he ALWAYS has to shake hands. Williams overpowers Daniels and gets a hiptoss to start, and they do a pinfall reversal sequence. Williams does a nice rolling anklelock to start working on the leg, but Daniels reverses him into a Kunze armbar. Williams goes back to the leg, but Daniels flips him out of it and it’s a stalemate again. Williams takes a breather, but gets suplexed back in for two. Williams takes him back down with an anklelock, and dragon-screws him into the leglock. That’s some quality mat-wrestling. Daniels blocks a rollup and takes Williams down with a neckbreaker, and drops some elbows for two. Another neckbreaker gets two. Russian legsweep gets two. Williams reverses a neckbreaker into a backslide for two, but Daniels blocks a rollup with a stunner for two. Daniels goes to a submission move, but Williams comes back with a backdrop. Daniels with the atomic drop and another neckbreaker for two. He sure loves those neckbreakers. Flatliner gets two. Williams comes back with a tornado DDT for two. Knee in the corner sets up a high knee, and Williams goes up for the flying knee, which gets two. Fisherman’s buster gets two. Chaos Theory is stopped with an STO by Daniels, and it’s cool to actually hear an announce team CALL that move. Daniels dodges a charge and powerbombs him for two. Chokeslam and he goes up with a moonsault for two. Williams catches him with a belly to belly and blocks a rollup for two. Into the pinfall reversals, which gives Williams another near-fall, and Daniels takes him down with another cradle for two. Chaos Theory (rollup into german suplex) gets two, but Daniels is in the ropes. Pin in the corner gets the pin for Daniels at 12:28. Okay heavyweight style match, but they never really got it going. **1/4
The Bottom Line:
This show was pretty much a case of “too much of a good thingÃ¢â‚¬Â, as some judicious editing would have helped a lot by chopping out a few matches and getting it down to about 2 or 2.5 hours. Three hours without breaks for backstage stuff and the occasional interview is just too much.
Minor quibble aside, two awesome ****+ matches and nothing that I’d consider to be bad make this an easy recommendation. It definitely lives up to the “something for everyoneÃ¢â‚¬Â claim, with some highspot fests, stiff heavyweight style matches and brawls.
Check it out at www.rfvideo.com or www.rohwrestling.com.
Not sure if I’ll do more or not, but it’s a nice change of pace from the WWE, for sure.