Best of Paul London – Please Don’t Die!


Best of Paul London – Please Don’t Die!
Various Dates

I’ve made it pretty public before but I’ll say it again, I’m a huge Paul London fan and the only reason I watch SD is when he’s on. He captured the hearts of the ROH fans with his heart and ability. When he left WWE everyone was disappointed but happy for Paul because he was living his dream. Right now we’re going to look through some of London’s best stuff from ROH.

Block A First Round: Paul London vs. Spanky – Road to the Title

When looking back at this match, you wonder what could’ve been with these two in WWE. Spanky, at this point, is undefeated in ROH and London, much like his entire ROH career, is fighting from the bottom, trying to win his spot. Spanky was really good at this point, but London was pretty green, but still good. It is established early that London can go hold for hold, but Spanky excesses at it and London’s home is in the air. They tease the finishers early in the match, when London tries London Calling (Shooting Star Press) and Spanky moves and tries Sliced Bread #2 but gets crotched. London follows up with enzuguri, sending Spanky to the floor and hitting a Tope Con Hilo. One bad point of the match, and a really ugly one at that, is they blow a superplex spot. The problem with it is London takes a sick bump on his head. This actually adds to the match though, I don’t know if it was intended or not though, as Spanky nails the shook up London with a DDT and takes the match with Sliced Bread #2. As I said above, think what they could’ve done in WWE. They don’t even need 20 mins, because this only went about 10. ***1/2

Winner of the match gets a contract with ROH: Paul London and Don Juan vs. Michael Shane and Bio-Hazard – Crowning a Champion

Why this is on here I have no idea. Although it helped build the London/Shane feud, the match is not good and London didn’t win. Juan and Bio-Hazard are pretty much just ‘there’ and have no real meaning in the match. London does a pretty nice spot though, hitting Shane with the Dropsault and dropping on Bio-Hazard with a Moonsault. A problem though is that Shane uses his finish as a transition, as he Superkicks London and only gets two. Shane busts out the Hass of Pain though. I wonder if Hass did rip it from him. Once we hit the finish, it is shown that London is the hard done by one, trying to get his wins, whereas Shane gets his contract on luck when he pins Juan with a Superkick. Although London had Bio-Hazard beat before that with his Sweeping DDT. *3/4

Paul London vs. Michael Shane – Honor Invades Boston

Much like London/Spanky, London’s strength is in the air and he’s best to stay there. London busts out some nice dives, but Shane just stays with simple moves to try and get his victory. Shane once again busts out the Hass of Pain in this match, but it’s too bad he didn’t set to it with some leg work. London takes some really nice bumps in this match as well, taking a Pillman like bump into the guardrail (it’s the closet thing you’ll get) and taking a belly to belly into the turnbuckles. They do a bit of nice story telling on the finish, when London hits the Twisting Quebrada that he broke Chris Marvel’s ankle with. Once he hits it, Shane sells it like he’s really injured and swats London away. Once back in the ring, Shane cradles him up for the victory. Once again, London is the hard done by one trying to get his victory and Shane uses his cheapness to get his victories. I’ve been told people liked this match back in the day, and even though it’s an ok match, it hasn’t held up very well. **3/4

The post match happenings, if included, are a thing of beauty. Simply Luscious (who played the Allison Danger role of The Prophecy at that time) wants Shane in The Prophecy. Rudy Boy (Shane’s trainer, and London, Spanky and Danielson’s trainer) doesn’t want Shane in The Prophecy. He Superkicks Luscious and then Rudy Boy. Just for good measure, he drops the Elbow on London as well. Shane was pretty much the king heel at this time.

Street Fight: Paul London vs. Michael Shane – Unscripted

Here we are, the match that made London. London starts off hot and heavy, showing his frustration. London attempts to skin the cat, but Shane spears him while he’s upside down. I’m seriously surprised HBK hasn’t stolen that spot yet. Shane is by far the smartest wrestler in this match, as is shown by the previous and the next spot, where London grabs and chair and shows it to the crowd, only for Shane to hit a Somersault Plancha onto London while he’s still holding the chair. London shows though that he’s come used to Shane’s tactics, and is able to throw Shane into the chair that he had set up. Both men are also bleeding by this point. They try to one up each other in the next section, where Shane belly to belly suplex London onto the ladder in the corner, so London retorts with a headscissors off the apron through a table Shane had set up. London sees the ladder set up in the corner, and runs up it and hits a somersault plancha from it. Some might be thinking can it get any more insane? Well it does, when London sets up the ladder and slingshots over it and tries to rana Shane, but Shane powerbombs him in mid air. Neither man’s finisher gets the job done, as Shane’s Picture Perfect Elbow only gets 2 and London only gets 2 for his London Calling. Shane takes it to the next level, hitting his elbow off the ladder, but once again only gets 2. Without his cheap tactics he cannot beat London. Shane climbs once again but London brings him down with a springboard moonsault kick and heads up the ladder, which is bent out of shape. The “Please Don’t Die” chants start here, with the crowd thinking “He can’t do what I think he’s going to do”. Well he does, and he comes off the ladder with the London Calling in one of the most insane moves in wrestling ever to get the victory. One great thing about this match that sets it apart from a lot of other matches like this is that they continued to top themselves. The match by itself is ****1/4 because of some of the transitions being a little weak, but I’m adding the extra ¼* for making London’s career. ****1/2

The post match stuff, once again if included, is great. Shane offers London his hand and then they hug, only for Shane to kick London in the balls, much like Jericho/HBK but it happened 6 months or so before it.

Number One Contenders Trophy Qualifier: Paul London vs. EZ Money – Night of the Bucher

The mentality for this match is “get as much stuff in as we can in 7 minutes”, but when doing this, they’re not give the moves any rhyme or reason. EZ stays on offence most of the match, and does the most impressive stuff in this match, with pretty much the only impressive spot London does is a Tope Con Hilo. They do a nice spot in EZ reversing a Jack Brisco Rollup out of the corner into the EZ Driver. Sadly they blow a spot, which ends with a powerbomb, which in the end will cost them. They don’t really tease finishes because the whole match has pretty much been a movefest, so the finishing sequence is some standing switches before London finishes with his Sweeping DDT. **1/4

Number One Contenders Trophy: Paul London vs. “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson – Night of the Butcher

Danielson beat Chad Collyer earlier night to get to this match. Danielson has fallen short recently in ROH when it comes to getting shots at the ROH Title. At Road to the Title he lost to Doug Williams and at All Star Extravaganza he lost to AJ Styles. Danielson is by far the better wrestler here, so London will have to pick his spots and try and make Danielson make a mistake. One of Danielson’s undoing habits recently to this match had been he had been a little soft. Yes he’s a great wrestler and can get viscous, but never got truly aggressive when he should’ve. It is shown Danielson has become frustrated with falling short when he chops London after an Oklahoma Roll. Usually he’d try and continue to outwrestle London, but he doesn’t want to take any chances. Danielson also stands on London’s face to give him an idea that he’s not playing around. London hits the Dropsault twice and Danielson is all “You want to get tricky? Well I’ll just drop you on your head” and he does that with a head drop suplex. Danielson gets a little overaggressive after that though, as he adds a snap suplex, flying headbutt and tries for a rolling forearm. London desperately ducks with elbow; for fear that it could be over if hit and hits a neckbreaker. London when on offence tries to go after the knee, but is not able to stay on it for long enough as Danielson is able to continually come back. Danielson uses a move that he used in the match with Styles, a Backdrop Superplex planting London on his face. Danielson is able to lock in Cattle Mutilation, but London gets himself under the ropes after a struggle. To the top and London fights Danielson off. He continues to come back though, 3 times to be exact, but the final one leaves him laying, allowing London to finish with London Calling. The post-match promo pretty much sums this up, so I’ll just say this was London’s first truly great singles match. ****1/4

Once again, if included the post match promo sums this match up. With London saying Danielson is the better wrestler and wishes he was as good as him. Danielson on the other hand says London had more heart and deserved the victory.

The match where London got his shot at Xavier at Final Battle 2002 is not included, but it’s about ***1/4.

Number One Contenders Match: Paul London vs. Low-Ki vs. AJ Styles – One Year Anniversary Show

A thing of beauty about this match that other three-way matches don’t have is that there is never a waisted motion. Everything means something and when there’s only two men in the ring, the make it entertaining. Each man has a role in this match, but all have felt the same down falling in that they’ve all lost in title matches to Xavier in cheap fashion. Low-Ki lost the title to him at Unscripted, Styles had Xavier beat 30 seconds in but was saved by Simply Luscious and London was pretty much screwed out of it at Final Battle 2002. So in the end, Ki is willing to do what it takes to win and will use his strikes to get there, as is AJ, but he will use his flash, but London on the other hand knows he’s not on the level of them so he has to do what he did to beat Danielson, and that’s use his heart and pick his points. The opening sequence is very hard to follow, with all men trading strikes in a quick fashion. AJ hits the bottom rope so hard in the early going that he breaks it. London then follows up later with a baseball slide through the ropes. Note I said through, not under. On the outside, Ki and Styles trade chops, before Ki takes AJ out with a Kopou Kick. This shows London’s strategy of picking his spots when he takes Ki and AJ out with a frog splash plancha. As I noted earlier, everything means something here, and this is shown when London tries to skin the cat, only to get kicked in the back by Ki and then being ripped off the ropes by AJ, who was still left on the outside. Back inside AJ shows off his flashy moves, in his dropkick and a backbreaker-gutbuster combo. London shows he’s picking his spots once again though when he takes AJ out with a stiff missile dropkick to the back of the head. AJ returns that with the Kip Rana, but London plays AJ’s game of flashy moves, hitting a Northern Lights Suplex into a bridging Table Top Suplex.

We then hit crazy spot town, as Ki locks London in the standing Dragon Clutch, but AJ takes them out with a Quebrada DDT. AJ’s flash is again showed with an STO Backbreaker into an Exploder. AJ locks in a Muta Lock, then moves into a standing version, but London is left all open for Ki. Ki delivers the Krush Kombo next, with London take some very sick kicks before the final one takes both AJ and London out. Ki locks the Dragon Clutch on AJ, but London, still locked by the legs with AJ, cranks on Ki with a necklock and we have a three-way submission. Ki pretty much dominates both men in the next section, cutting them off with his many different variants of kicks. AJ goes up top after London took Ki out with his Sweeping DDT and he and London trade some sick shots up there. A truly insane spot follows next with AJ trying for an Avalanche Style Styles Clash on Ki, but he ranas AJ down, who gets caught in mid air with a powerbomb from London. The insanity follows when Ki brings a barrage of Kawada Kicks, but AJ avoids the final one, hits a German Suplex, rolls through, only for Ki to role through a backdrop into the Dragon Clutch. After London breaks up, AJ is able to hit the combo he was not able to hit on Ki. London tries to take AJ down with a Reverse Tornado DDT, but Ki pops in and takes them both out with the Tidal Krush. He then follows up and takes AJ out with the Black Magic Attack. Both men fight to the top and after a fight, Ki hits AJ with an Avalanche Style Ki Krusher 99. Once again, London has left himself in the right place at the right time because of picking his spots and finishes AJ with London Calling. I may be going a little high with the rating here, but every one thing meant something and besides for some weak transitions, this was gold. It is also the second best three-way match I’ve ever seen, right behind Benoit/HHH/HBK WM XX. ****3/4

The big clusterf*ck Scramble was supposed to happen next, but Xavier laid out the challenge to London and they go to it straight away.

Ring of Honor Title: Xavier vs. Paul London – One Year Anniversary

London is in for a hard time here. He just wrestled over 20 minutes with 2 of the top in ROH, but now must wrestle the ROH Champion. Given the circumstances, this is the best time to use London’s strategy of picking his spots. Early on he grabs the advantage early on, but is cut off with interference from Danger. To even up the score, Alexis Laree then comes out to join London in his corner. London once again grabs the advantage, but Xavier is able to drop him on his head with a German Suplex. Given London has wrestled over 20 mins, that will do more damage than usual. Xavier also has the given advantage here as well because he doesn’t have to worry about a fell out process or anything, he can just hit high impact moves and hope for the victory. He tried for the Cobra Clutch Suplex, but London climbs the ropes and cradles Xavier, Bret/Austin style. London then takes a big beating in a short time, being thrown over the top through the time keeper’s table and then is busted open. Xavier is able to take London down with the Cobra Clutch Suplex and gets 2 for it, showing it’s going to take a lot to beat London here tonight. London fights back, but is noticeably tired. When climbing the ropes, he looks extremely tired, but even with Xavier bailing; he is still able to take him out with a crossbody. Back inside and he hits a slingshot, springboard moonsault for 2. Xavier tries to cut London off once again, this time using a low blow, but he continues to fight. London is not the only one willing to do what it takes to win, as Xavier, even though not an honourable champion, he wants the belt. Twice Danger gets taken out via London, but because of Xavier sacrificing her. London hits London Calling and has the title won, but Danger pulls him out. Laree and Danger get in a cat fight, but amidst the confusion, Xavier is able to hit Kiss Your X Goodbye and the 450 but only for 2. He tries for what one him the match at Final Battle, the X-Breaker but London rolls him up for 2. London tries rolling him up again but Xavier rolls through with the tights for the victory. London fought for close to 40 minutes at full pace, and deserves all the credit he gets. I still standby my opinion to this day that London should’ve won this and taken the ROH Title. ***1/4

We miss London’s 3 best matches in his career. Those are his 2/3 falls match with Danielson from Epic Encounter, his match vs. Christopher Daniels from Round Robin Challenge II and his match with Styles at Night of Grudges. Those are available on other compilations though.

Ring of Honor World Title, Farewell Match: Samoa Joe vs. Paul London

London is the first to get the streamer treatment in ROH, and boy does he get a lot of them. I have no doubt in my mind if this happened today, it would be a MOTYC, but back at this time it wasn’t. If they had the ring work to go along with the crowd heat, they could’ve had a true classic. This is London’s first big man vs. little man match as well, and he does it really well. London gets dominated to start with Joe’s strikes, so he has to use his speed to throw Joe off, and he does that. Joe takes over on the floor, but London sees the opportunity and comes off the guard rail with a moonsault. Back in, Joe is able to dominate again with strikes after the STO Slam, and when London tries to strike back, it makes no difference because Joe is too strong. He’s never encountered something like this. London avoids the face wash, but Joe just simply dumps him on the ropes and places him in the tree of woe and then does it. To the outside, the beating just continues for London with Joe hitting two Ole Kicks and back in he hits a missile dropkick (yes, a 260 pound man did a missile dropkick) and bridging German for 2. London needs to come up with something quick, because he may be going out but he wants the title on his last night. That quick something comes when London reverses the Island Driver into a Sunset Flip for 2. Since Joe has been pinned in the past with roll ups, London continues with them, but Joe is even able to play at that game and blocks a roll up. London has to rethink once again and does it, by slapping the turnbuckle hard and play possum. He nails Joe with the Sweeping DDT and hits the London Calling for a close 2. It may be his last night, but the crowd was into that near fall. London hasn’t got much left now, and is caught in the Choke, but is able to cradle out Bret/Piper style. Joe keeps up with the punishment, delivering a Dragon Suplex, but London keeps up with the quick victory attempts with a backslide. London is done after that though. Joe hits him with a Lariat and continues to soften him up with the knee strikes. He applies the Choke once again, but with the body scissors this time. London tries to fight out with elbows, but just continues to weaken himself further and he’s out. The finish came off a little flat, but it was the right move. ***1/4

The post match promo is very emotional, as the locker room spills out and London says his goodbyes. He wins me over even more with his closing comment. “It doesn’t matter what my shirt says because it’ll always say ROH in my heart”. Very emotional goodbye.