NOTE: Since this review was done a while ago, some statements might be out of date and check out Scott at BLUETHUNDERVIDEO~! (the ~! is required) because Scott is an awesome guy who does custom tapes so if you ever needed just the one match off of a show, he’s the man to go to.
ROH Round Robin Challenge III
May 15th, 2004
The Round Robin Challenge has been a yearly event for ROH since the start. It started at the second show after Low-Ki defeated American Dragon and Christopher Daniels (****1/4) in the first main event in ROH history. Daniels refused to shake hands and it set up the first RRC. Daniels started by defeating Dragon (****) in a great opening match with a neck lock. Ki then defeated Daniels (***1/2) with the Dragon Clutch. The final match saw ROH’s first viable MOTYC in Low-Ki and American Dragon (****3/4) going 32 mins full of innovation, great mat work and sick moves (twisting fisherman buster off the middle rope). The end result was Dragon winning the match with a full nelson style Cattle Mutilation and making him pass out. The first ever RRC ended up in a draw.
The next RRC consisted of Christopher Daniels, Paul London and Amazing Red. Daniels and Red opened up (***1/4) with Daniels defeating Red with the Last Rites in a 10 min match loaded with action. London and Red was next (***1/2) which had a little back story. London was supposed to team with AJ Styles, but had to have surgery and Red replaced him. London had been bitter ever since. London defeated Red with the Styles Clash, a little shot at Styles. For the first time, we’re guaranteed a winner to the RRC, but who would it be? In an ROH Dream Match, Daniels and London (****1/2) went 19 mins and full of action and Daniels ended up taking the win with the Triple Jump Moonsault onto the injured ribs of London. So, after falling short the year before, Daniels is able to take the win. Will this years RRC produce a MOTYC just like the others? Time will tell.
The Prophecy cut a promo about how Daniels is never going to be back but he still guides them. Not much point to the promo other than that. The problem since TNA pulled Daniels is that he and Maff carried the promo parts, now Maff is the only good talker of the group.
Sugar Shawn Price meets up with one of the best managers going today in Prince Nana and he’s looking to recruit new talent into The Embassy. The new members are the Outkast Killaz, who are now off the ring crew. The Carnage Crew show up and suspect that the Killaz were the ones that crapped on their bags. Nana obviously isn’t gonna take this and an 8 man tag is set for tonight. The Carnage Crew pick the Ring Crew Express as their partners because they’re not gonna take it anymore. Nana says he’ll have a new member of The Embassy for the 8 man tonight.
We join Colt Cabana doing a public service announcement on gingivitis. He says he has a midget as a guest for GTGM because apparently “it’s good for ratings”. CM Punk shows up and wants Cabana to get serious. Punk talks about Steamboat being old and getting in their way. They’re going 2-0 tonight.
ROH Tag Titles: 2nd City Saints vs. the Prophecy
The feud just won’t die, but I’m glad there was a satisfying blow off to it. This is the usual match you get from practically any Saints/Prophecy match and that is too much meaningless brawling. The booking is all wrong and whacked out here. The Saints come off as looking weak because they want to leave and keep the belts without having to wrestle. Steamboat comes out to order them back into the ring though. The finish comes in too short of order as well. Maff cleans out the Saints with a Tope Suicida and then Whitmer finishes Cabana with a Wrist Clutch Exploder. **. The booking was all wrong as I said. Saints tried to bail, but couldn’t, then after their epic when at RS2, they lose it in a 7 min match to a team that is down the shitter. (7.05)
Post match the Saints attack Steamboat and set him up on a table. The table breaks before Punk can drop the leg off the top though. Doesn’t sound as bad as it looked.
Alex Shelley vs., Matt Stryker
Shelley challenged Stryker to a 3 match series, but has only signed on for 2 because that’s all it will take. Do you doubt the man what has talent on loan from God? The crowd is firmly behind Shelley, who just turned heel. This starts off how you’d expect, on the mat. Its great stuff as anyone who has seen either of these two would expect. Shelley’s all about climbing the ladder. But we all know you have to start from the bottom, and that’s what Shelley’s doing. I’m not saying Stryker’s at the bottom of the ladder, more the middle, but when it comes to who you want to take out to make an impression; it’s Stryker because he won the only Field of Honor. Shelley shows that his innovation is just not with submission holds, hitting a grounded diamond dust into an inverted DDT. The problem comes for Stryker as no matter what he does; Shelley is able to cut him off. Stryker usually only can get one or two moves in before Shelley cuts him off again. It’s only fitting that Shelley survive Stryker’s big moves. He survives the DVD by rolling to the outside and the Strykerlock by making the ropes. He treats the moves with respect though because he sold the DVD not quite like death but he sold it as a big move and teased tapping to the Strykerlock on several occasions. Shelley is able to roll up Stryker for the pin. ***1/4. Finish was pretty cool because the ref stopped mid 3 count because he thought Stryker was kicking out, but he realized he wasn’t kicking out so he counted it. The match itself was a showcase of how great 7 min matches can be. (7.00).
BACKSTAGE GMC is with the Briscoes. They fire Jim Cornette and they’re taking the titles tonight.
The Carnage Crew and Ring Crew Express vs. Prince Nana, Outkast Killaz and Mystery Partner
Josh Daniels turns out to be the mystery partner. The match is mainly all about fun, because everyone knows 7 out of 8 of these wrestlers don’t have the best workrate and Daniels is going to be able to carry it. The main story here is the Crew wanting to find out who defiled, so it’s no surprise that Dunn is playing the face in peril, which is a good move anyway because the RCE are great at drawing face heat. When Daniels in there the match is good instead of fun, there’s a big difference. The match breaks down without a tag, as Marcos storms in and gets dropped on his head via German Suplex from Daniels. The match now breaks down with the bigger moves coming out. The Crew’s Carnageplex and the Stage Dive. Finish comes when Tortunga gets hit with a Lariat/Slingshot double team from the Crew. **1/4. The execution on that finish was not good. Match was fun, but felt rushed. (8.04).
Samoa Joe vs. Mystery Man
The guy who turned out the lights turns out to be Ricky Reyes. At the time of this event, I was hoping to god it would be B-Boy. I would rather Romero in here but hey, what can ya do? Before the match can get started, GMC is out to tell Homicide can’t be out here for the match. This pisses Homicide off and he rushes to the back. New music for Joe tonight. Joe and Homicide brawl out from behind the curtain and into the crowd before the match can get started. The locker room empty to take Homicide to the back.
Reyes starts things with the Drunken Heel Hook. The thing here is that Reyes is not here to win, if he does it’s a bonus, all he’s here to do is hurt Joe. Ironically this is the same role Joe had entering ROH, difference is that he was serving for the Prophecy to take out Low-Ki in one of the most hard hitting and brutal matches I’ve seen. Reyes logically is a great pick from Homicide to take on Joe; he can take hard shots and give them back, which is evidence of this match. Joe uses a lot of kicks and slaps on Reyes. They’re hurting Reyes but not putting him down, so Joe’s shots get harder and harder until he hits Reyes with one hard slap that sends Reyes to the outside. Joe hits two Olay Olay Kicks on the outside, but Reyes continues to fight. Joe hits a few slams, but on the third Reyes is able to lock in a Triangle Choke. Joe makes the ropes but Reyes hits 2 hard hitting moves that can change him from assassin to winner. Those two moves are a spinning DDT and a Backdrop Driver. Joe is able to make his comeback though, bring the signature Powerbomb into the STF that we’ve all grown to love from Joe. Reyes is able to make the ropes though. Joe hits a hard Lariat and slap. He finishes off Reyes with the Island Driver. ***. Reyes was pretty much a pest for Joe in this match. He took a lot of Joe’s hardest shots and was able to dish it back out at him. It only went 9 mins, but it was one of the harder 9 mins of Joe’s ROH career. In one week we will see if Reyes made a difference or not when Joe and Homicide face again. (9.54).
CM Punk is out and complains about the officiating costing them the titles. Cabana claims his shoulder was up. He says the Briscoes better win tonight.
ROH Tag Titles: The Prophecy vs. The Briscoes
Second match of the RRC as the Prophecy defend their newly won belts against the Briscoes. This match is practically only to set up the rematch of the Briscoes/2nd City Saints tonight, but too bad it doesn’t make the Briscoes look strong. The match starts with both teams exchanging offence, the match can get anyone pumped up when Maff and Jay start, stiffing the hell out of each other, but then it slows down when Whitmer and Mark are in. It’s still interesting though. The Prophecy begin to take over after Mark blows a dive and Whitmer targets the ribs. The Briscoes don’t blow spots, so that’s a surprise. They stretch and slam at the ribs, sometimes dropping him on the guard rail. The problem is that it’s just the usually generic work you’d expect out of the WWE, when Maff and Whitmer have show to be above that. Mark is able to tag out after a Sunset Bomb. Jay is your usual face on fire, hitting hard Lariats and Yakuza Kicks. The Prophecy are able to take over after blocking the Jay Driller. The Prophecy, however, collide and Mark rolls Whitmer up for the win. **1/2. The start and finish were both great, but the middle and the ending left a bad taste in my mouth. Mark not being the legal man didn’t help either. The Briscoes were practically dominated all match and then got a fluke win, not exactly the way you want them to come off strong. I think it was keep the Prophecy’s dissention going, but they had accomplished getting over Maff and Whitmer hating each other. It would’ve made more sense for them to lose cleanly if you want to continue that other than a cheap victory. (13.23).
Jay and Mark are now in the same position Ki was in 2 years ago, they have the chance to go 2-0, but worthy adversary stands in their way, much like it did for Ki.
BACKSTAGE and GMC is with SPANKY. Rock on. Spanky is impressed with what ROH has become and he’s gunning for the top guys. Too bad he didn’t stay around.
SSP tries to get a word in with The Prophecy and Maff says he can’t do this anymore. Alison promises revenge later tonight.
Josh Daniels vs. Dixie
This is essentially a jobber match, and it’s not the best way to use Josh Daniels. The highlight here is Ox Baker coming out and wanting to help Special K. Special K backing off from him is hilarious. Daniels finishes the match with a Fisherman Buster. ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™???ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™??ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™?ÃƒÆ’¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½*. Daniels is wasted here and that’s all you need to know. I hear he might be getting a bit of a push this coming year, so that better happen.
Six-Man Mayhem: John Walters vs. Roderick Strong vs. Hydro vs. Trent Acid vs. Izzy vs. Masada
This event is in the Boston area, so Walters is over. This match essentially has three goals, get Walters even more over, get Strong over for his coming push and get Hydro over more for his coming push. This match is what you expect a SMM match to be, insanity with insane spots and it loves up to those expectations. The spot of the match comes when Hydro hits a Spider Dragon Suplex on Masada and the rolls through into a Camel Clutch style Full Nelson. The move is so potentially neck breaking it’s scary. Strong hits a lot of backbreakers as you’d expect. He makes sure to hit the giant gutbuster he uses. I haven’t heard a name for it yet, so I dub it the Strong Style. Finish comes when Walters hits Izzy with an Avalanche Style Hurricane DDT. ***1/4. There isn’t much I can say for these types of matches, but if you love spots you’ll love them. (12.32).
Homicide vs. Spanky
Spanky gets the “Welcome back” Chants and he deserves them. This match is all about Homicide wanting momentum going into Generation Next and Spanky wanting to make an impression. The match starts with Spanky skilfully avoiding the referee’s attention while biting and working at Homicide’s hand. Homicide wants again summons the powers of Muta and throws a chair. Spanky throws it back in his face, showing he’s business tonight. Spanky gets a few near falls, but gets overaggressive and gets kicked down. Homicide decides to attack Spanky’s neck. He works it over with neckbreakers with a suplex and a piledriver thrown in there. On the outside, Homicide tries to hit Spanky with a chair but the ref stops this. Spanky takes this opportunity to hit Sliced Bread #2 off the referee’s back. After some resting, Spanky hits a missile dropkick and lariat for 2. Homicide catches Spanky with a Tiger Driver for 2. Spanky catches Homicide with a Complete Shot for 2. Up top and Homicide hits a Double Arm Underhook Superplex. Then in a sequence that I love, Homicide tries to choke Spanky out but gets hit with a jawbreaker, he no sells it and hits a Yakuza Kick BUT Spanky no sells that and hits a Superkick and they’re both down. Sliced Bread #2 is blocked into a Cop Killa attempt but Spanky reverses that with a Victory Roll for 2. Spanky up and Smokes tries to stop him but Spanky kicks him off. Top rope elbow gets 2 for Spanky. Spanky hits Sliced Bread #2 and he gets 2 because Smokes drags the ref out. Spanky takes him out with a pescado kick. Back in, Ace Crusher, Lariat and goodbye Spanky. ****. Great match, but Smokes’ interference hurt it. I know it was only twice, but even once is nearly too many for ROH. I’m glad Spanky’s back in ROH in what looks to be full time now, because he looked awesome here. (16.16).
Post match Homicide calls Joe out and he answers. Joe gets beat down by Homicide, Reyes and Smokes though. They target Joe’s neck. Homicide declares he’s the next champion. The Rottweilers exchange abuse with the crowd on the way out.
ROH Tag Titles: The Briscoes vs. 2nd City Saints
Punk and Cabana are in the same position as last show, barring one thing. Yes they are in the main event again and yes they are challenging The Briscoes for the tag titles, but this time they are heels. Punk and Jay start things out, smart considering the shape of Mark’s ribs. They go through a standard feel out process. Jay is able to back Punk into the corner and his brother tags in. Punk retreats and tags in Cabana. This will be interesting because of Mark’s ribs and that Cabana is very unorthodox. He is partly a comedy wrestler, but can wrestle serious and has unpredictable moves. Mark is able to dominate Cabana, still showing signs of the rib injury though. Mark, in not a smart move, hits a splash in the corner. This doesn’t affect The Briscoes dominance as Mark is able to quickly tag Jay in and they hit their side slam/leg drop double team for a 2 count. Jay continues the dominance on Cabana, sending the message that The Briscoes are dominant. This is a very smart move by The Briscoes to try and keep Cabana under control, because they have a better chance of isolating him than Punk. The Briscoes continue to dominate until Cabana is able to catch Mark on a leap frog and hit a gut buster. Mark took too many risks that his injury allowed. Sure he could do them, but there is a much bigger difference to being countered when injured and when not injured. The Saints dominate Mark and smartly continue to target his ribs. They stretch Mark, they slam him, they strike him and they use quick in and out tags, but Mark still doesn’t quit. This is just not the Saints on offence, as Mark’s attempted come backs are great. One of the great ones is Mark crawling to the corner and almost getting the tag, but Punk is in and hooks up the arms of Mark, chickenwing style and Cabana sneaks around and pulls Jay off the apron so Punk can get Mark back in their corner. So even if Mark fights back, there is no Jay to tag and Cabana can always come in to cheap shot. Mark finally gets his tag when he avoids a double team from the Saints, ducking Punk and hitting a missile dropkick on Cabana. Jay in and is like a man possessed, hitting hard Lariats and forearms. He puts Cabana down with a Yakuza Kick for 2. He hits Punk with a plancha on the outside. Mark with the roll up that he beat Maff with earlier but Cabana is able to kick out. Moments later Mark gets crotched on top. Jay tosses Cabana but gets hit with a Tiger Suplex from Punk. When the hand is coming down for 3, Mark hits the bridging Punk with a Shooting Star Press. This gets 2 as Cabana pulls the ref out. Punk tries for the Pepsi Plunge on Mark, the move that he beat him with at the last show, but Punk gets dumped. Mark tries to capitalise, but lands squarely on Cabana’s knee. Back in and Cabana finishes Mark with a Frog Splash. ****1/4. Great tag match, better than the Stage 2 match. It didn’t have the same hot crowd the first encounter did, but who though it would. Mark constantly sold the ribs, which was great because that is an art really lost in wrestling today, being able to continually sell the body part. The end result of the third RRC is a draw, so the Saints retain. (19.14).
POST MATCH The Prophecy attack the Saints. The Briscoes join in and it’s a three way brawl. Cabana cleans everyone out with a Quebrada. Punk calls for a dive, but Steamboat is here. Armdrags and chops to Punk. And now the big one, Steamboat up top and hits THE CROSSBODY. Holy shit that’s a mark out moment. Crowd chants “Steamboat’s bitch” at Punk as he isn’t happy. Wild way to end the show.
BACKSTAGE Alex Shelley cuts a promo on Matt Stryker (“I should’ve just given him a box of razor blades and let him book his own finish”) and as usual, the Generation Next show. He says he has talent on loan from god, a phrase I have continually swiped when playing sports now. He leaves talking to Roderick Strong about backbreakers.
The Prophecy cut a promo on the same shit as usual. They tease the break-up and Danger brings them back together. At this stage, with all the same pre match and post match promos, not many people cared, I only stayed partly interested because I’m a fan of Maff.