Ring of Honor DVD Review: Honor Invades Boston, 8/24/02

Honor Invades Boston

6 Months after it’s debut, Ring of Honor ran its first show outside of Philly, as it went up to Boston, Massachusetts. The card is positively stacked, with a total of 13 matches. One of which is the first battle between 2 brothers, Jay and Mark Briscoe, which is also Mark’s ROH debut. Also, Low Ki defends the Ring of Honor Championship against long time rival, AJ Styles.

*ROH champions, Low Ki, cuts a backstage promo, saying that on July 27th, he gave everything he had for one hour, in 95 degree temperature, and he did it for one thing. He lost 10 pounds in one hour, and he did it for one thing. He fought through pain, exhaustion, through every fibre in his body, and he did it for one thing. He did it for his love, of this sport. This isn’t just entertainment, this isn’t just a hobby of his – this is his life. This belt (ROH championship) signifies his love for professional wrestling. This way of life has brought him to a higher level of respect, discipline, and honor. He says he has the utmost respect for AJ Styles, and that AJ’s taken him to his limits. But Ki didn’t give his heart and his soul to this sport, to this belt (ROH title) to just let it go from his grasp. When ROH invades Boston, when Ki makes the first ever ROH title defence, he will prove to AJ, and everyone else, that it’s not the size of the fighter, but the size of the fight he will bring. All AJ can do, is be ready. Awesome, intense promo to kick things off and hype the title match main event.

1. Amazing Red vs Quiet Storm: Both guys lock up and do some arm wrench counters. They have an AWESOME fast paced lucha exchange, with neither man getting the upper hand. Red does a nice flip tope. Red gains an advantage, kicking away at Storm. Red continues to dominate him with hard kicks. Storm makes a comeback, reversing a high flying move, then hitting Gory Special Bomb. It gets 2. He hits a SICK Code Red/Canadian Destroyer variation, but it only gets 2. Red catches a diving headbutt attempt into an Ace Crusher. He goes up top and hits the Red Alert Corkscrew leg drop. The Red Star Press finishes moments later.
That was an incredibly fun little match. Both men couldn’t beat each other at their flying games, so Red caught Storm off guard with strikes to gain an advantage. But when Red went back to the flying game, Storm saw it coming and reversed it. In the end it was Storm trying his flying game, only to have Red reverse it and pick up the win. The match had a story there, and had loads of great action. They didn’t go overkill a lot (which is what lots of Red matches do) but the Canadian Destroyer move should NOT have been kicked out of, and should have been sold.

2. The SAT & Chris Divine vs Special K: The match kicks off when Special K attacks Amazing Red, only to have the SAT make the save. Well I can sum this whole match up in one word, and that word is: terrible. I’m not gonna try to play be play this, as I don’t know the names for all the botched moves here. This match had no story or anything, and was just constant meaningless spots. I might have enjoyed this if every spot wasn’t botched.

*Post match, Chris Divine gets on the mic, and calls out ROH champ Low Ki, for a match. Ki comes out to a huge ovation. Chris starts the match with some chops, but Ki reverses an Irish whip, takes out the leg and starts killing Divine with kicks. He kills Divine with kick for like 30 seconds more, then puts on the Dragon Sleeper. Divine taps. That was too short to really give a rating for, so no rating here.

*Chris Daniels is in Japan, and he cuts a promo about how he hates Low Ki, and talks about how he and the Prophecy will take over ROH, and destroy the code of Honor.

3. Christopher St. Connection vs Dunn & Marcos: Another terrible match. This should have been a 30 second squash (CSC squashing Dunn & Marcos), but it was actually a competitive match. What’s bad about that, is both teams suck as wrestlers. This went about 5 minutes, and I was bored out of my mind for all those 5 minutes. CSC wins with a springboard Thesz press.

4. Scoot Andrews vs Mike Tobin: Pretty much a squash for Andrews, with Tobin getting in a Stroke and a springboard leg drop as offence. Scoot wins in about 1 minute with his ‘Force of Nature’ piledriver. Too short to be anything good, but not horrible.

5. Scoot Andrews vs Xavier: Yay, on paper this is an actual good wrestling match. Xavier comes out and makes a challenge (it’s 1-1 on victories between these 2 guys in ROH) to finish things off between them, right here in Boston. Both men do some mat wrestling to start. They start hitting some bigger moves. Xavier does a sweet moonsault dive. Both men get some nearfalls back in the ring, but Xavier picks up the win with a 450 splash, following a Razor’s Edge powerbomb.
Well that match was pretty good, albeit it was pretty much an exhibition match. Scoot wanted to wrestle more, but Xavier used his killer instinct to gain the advantage, catching Scoot off guard lots of times, which ultimately won Xavier the match. They didn’t play off much from their previous encounters, which would have been nice to see. Good match, but ultimately just an exhibition.

6. Michael Shane vs Paul London: They start with a feeling out process. London gain control with some nice dropkicks, and a tope. London dominates Shane with some more high flying, only to have Shane reverse it and throw London off the top rope, into the guardrail (sick spot, BTW). Shane throws London into the guardrail a bit more. Back in Shane works over London’s neck. London comes back with a standing moonsault. He gets a few nearfalls. London does a corkscrew senton to the outside. Shane appears to have come down on his leg, and is badly hurt. Shane screams in pain, as people come to check on him. Both wrestlers go back in the ring. The announcer is about to announce the match as no contest, but Shane rolls up London and gets the 3 count! He was faking the injury! Great heel move there.
That was a pretty good singles match. The power vs speed game worked here, with London helping getting Shane’s power over with his bumping ability. Both men played their heel/babyface rolls well, and the finish was really great, fitting perfectly into Shane’s character.

*A video clips is aired from 27/4/02, of a brawl between the Prophecy (Daniels and Morgan) and Low Ki and Bryan Danielson. This sets up Danielson/Morgan, which is up next.

7. ‘American Dragon’ Bryan Danielson vs Donovan Morgan: Can a Bryan Danielson match revive this card? We shall see. They start with some mat wrestling. Dragon gets the better of it after a while, and works over Morgan’s arm. He doesn’t do that much damage to the arm, he mostly just attempts cross arm-breakers. After a while Morgan comes back with a backdrop driver. Morgan attempts some submissions on Dragon when he has control. Both men hit some bigger moves. Dragon gets a roaring elbow and top rope diving headbutt. Morgan gets an overhead belly to belly suplex. Dragon puts on cattle mutilation. Morgan is fading, and his arm falls twice. As it’s about to fall a third time, the bell rings. The announcer says the time limit expired, this match is a time limit draw!
That was a very good match. Morgan tried to mat wrestle with Dragon, but Dragon outwrestled him to gain the advantage. Morgan used his power to gain control, but when he tried to mat wrestle with Dragon when he had control, Dragon used his technical skill to re-gain the advantage. In the end, it was Dragon going back to the arm he’s previously worked over. Dragon would have won the match, it the time limit hadn’t expired. Good story, good wrestling; a really good match.

*Both Da Hit Squad and the Carnage Crew cut intense promos, hyping this upcoming match.

8. Boston Massacre Match: Da Hit Squad vs Carnage Crew: This match is really just a boring mess. It was boring when they were setting up spots/recovering from spots, and was a mess throughout. Da Hit Squad won this when Mafia pinned Loc with a Burning Hammer. Most of the hardcore spots they tried were too much to handle, and ended up looking lousy. Some spots (with the barbwire table for example) were really good. But with a hardcore match like this (which is based around hardcore spots) if all the spots suck then the match pretty much sucks. And yes, this match sucked.

9. Biohazard vs Don Juan: This match is virtually the same as Scoot Andrews vs Mike Tobin; a slightly competitive squash. That was all it was, nothing more. Biohazard won one minute in with a backdrop driver variation.

10. Alex Arion vs Maverick Wild: These are 2 local wrestlers (well jobbers, really) having an exhibition match here in ROH. I’m not gonna play-by-play this, because I’ll just get bored. These guys just have a standard wrestling match, which goes on forever. I actually timed this a while ago, and looking back, this match is only 5 minutes long. It sure felt longer than 5 minutes. Much longer. Arion wins with a victory roll of sorts.

*A video is shown of these 2 teams arguing backstage, and the Natural Born Sinners challenge the ‘FBI’. Maritato accepted the challenge, even though he didn’t want to team with Mamaluke.

11. Natural Born Sinners vs James Maritato & Tony Mamaluke: Homicide and Boogaloo showed some good wrestling skill here, and hung with their opponents quite well. The Natural Born Sinners gain control with their double team moves. The ‘FBI’ use cheap tactics to gain control. In the end it was the natural Born Sinner’s double team work giving them the win, with Homicide giving Mamaluke the Cop Killa after Boogaloo set him up for it.
Ultimately, it was the ‘FBI’s reluctance to team with each other that cost them, as the Natural Born Sinner’s beat them with their double team work. The match itself was solid, but really nothing special at all.

*A video clips is aired of Mark Briscoe laughing at Jay Briscoe for losing his matches. Jay gets annoyed and pushes Mark into a wall. Mark says Jay can’t touch him, because Mark’s 17 and Jay will lose his wrestling licence. Jay says that next month ROH is going to Boston; there is no wrestling licence policy there. Jay says “me vs you”. Mark says “you’ll just lose again”.

12. Jay Briscoe vs Mark Briscoe: FINALLY this show gets good! They start with some nice chain wrestling. Lots of awesome holds and counter holds. Mark hits a CRISP Northern lights suplex. Some amazing wrestling sequences in the opening minutes. Jay hits a big Yakua kick and Mark bails to the floor. They exchange strikes and brawl on the outside. Mark rams Jay’s head into the barricade and ringpost, busting his brother open! Mark punches Jay’s cut head. Back in, Jay hits a dropkick and a fat short arm lariat. Mark hits a belly to belly suplex, and wears down Jay striking his head and putting him in sleeper holds. Mark hits a DDT that flips Jay clean over.

Jay dropkicks Mark’s leg, then stomps on his hand. Jay hits a sitout Gordbuster. Mark hits a crisp top rope springboard Ace crusher, and the fans erupt. It gets a 2 count. Mark continues to work over Jay’s head, hitting knee drops instead of fist drops (which he used before) because his hand is hurt. Good stuff there. Mark hits a big knee strike to the head in the corner. He follows it up with a tombstone piledriver. That was kinda unnecessary. Mark goes up top, but misses a top rope knee drop. Jay proceeds to DESTROY Mark’s leg. He hits a Dragon Screw leg whip, then a torture rack backbreaker.

Mark catches a lariat attempt and hits an Urunage suplex. Mark tries a springboard, but his leg is too hurt to do it. Mark tries it again, and hits a springboard missile dropkick, while grabbing at his knee in pain. Jay grabs Mark, and KILLS him with a powerbomb variation! Mark hits a sick German suplex/Dragon suplex combo, but it only gets 2! Mark misses a moonsault, and Jay SLAUGHTERS him with a lariat that flips him straight over! He follows it up with a BIG Death Valley Driver, but it only gets a 2 count. The fans go nuts, and many are standing. Jay MASSACRES Mark with a STEINER SCREWDRIVER! He misses a cannonball senton though. Mark gives Jay a sick shining Wizard while Jay is against the ropes, then finishes Jay with a wrist clutch Burning Hammer (Cut throat driver).

Well that match was nothing short of amazing. The match was really a game of one up-man ship between the 2 brothers. Jay outwrestled Mark in the early going, so Mark (being reckless and all) went to the cheap tactics and used foreign objects (eg, ringpost) to gain the advantage. Jay could have pounded the hell out of Mark right there (which one can see him do at the One Year Anniversary show), but he stayed respectable and used his wrestling skill to gain an advantage, isolating and destroying Mark’s body parts. In the end though, it was Mark’s killer instinct (with the shining Wizard out of nowhere) that got him the win. The match had an excellent story, but that’s not to take away from the excellent wrestling. The fact both of these guys were 17 and 18, and were having matches this good is quite scary. The match had quality selling, crisp wrestling, intensity, a fast pace and an excellent story. Definitely a MOTYC for ’02.

13. ROH Championship match: Low Ki (c) vs AJ Styles: Yes, another good match coming up. They start with some INTENSE mat wrestling. Both men put each other in some stiff holds. Low Ki gets put in an Indian deathlock submission, but kicks AJ hard in the face to get out of it. They go back to the mat. When neither man can gain an advantage there, they go to the middle of the ring and exchange kicks! Awesome! Ki wins the kick exchange with an enziguri. AJ knows he can’t win on that front, so he takes it back to the mat. Ki starts dominating AJ with chops and kicks. Both men start killing each other with forearms and kicks to the face.

Ki kicks out AJ’s legs, and starts with the roundhouse kicks, then follows them up with the Kawada kicks. AJ comes back with a STIFF discuss lariat. AJ goes for a tope on the outside, but Ki enziguris him while he’s going through the ropes! Back in Ki starts killing AJ with Kawada kicks again, and they bust AJ open! Ki goes for a springboard enziguri, but AJ catches him and plants him with a German suplex, then hits a cool face buster. AJ goes for the Styles clash, but Ki turns it into a snap hurracanrana! It gets a 2 count. AJ gets annoyed and starts striking Ki. He comes charging, but Ki moves out of the way, and AJ goes into the turnbuckles. Ki puts on the Dragon sleeper up top, but has to break, for the submission is illegal – it’s using the ropes.

AJ comes back, hitting a NICE Razor’s edge dominator type move. 1, 2, no! AJ goes up top for the Spiral Tap, but Ki moves out of the way. AJ crashes and burns nastily. Ki capitalises on the hurt AJ, and puts on the Dragon clutch! AJ reaches the ropes. Both men exchange strikes on their knees, and Ki comes out the better with a kick to the head! Ki picks up AJ, and DROPS him with a brainbuster! 1 2 NO! Ki goes up top for the Phoenix splash, but it hits knees! AJ picks up KI, and gives him a vicious brainbuster! 1 2 NO! AJ goes for a running kick in the corner, but Ki moves and AJ crashes and burns. Ki starts Kawada kicking AJ again! AJ gets PISSED, and starts POUNDING Ki with strikes! The fans are going nuts! He whips Ki off the ropes, goes for a rana, but Ki reverses it into a powerbomb with a flip over bridge! 1 2 NO! Awesome sequence there! They both try to put each other in moves, but no one can get the move they want. Ki eventually hits the KI KRUSHER! 1 2 3!

That match was all sorts of awesome. Like Briscoe/Briscoe the match was (sort of) a game of one up-man ship. AJ bettered Ki on the wrestling, so Ki used his strikes to gain the advantage. Ki got cocky, going for moves he shouldn’t have (eg Springboard enziguri), only to have AJ reverse them and gain control. In the end, it was AJ’s temper that cost him. Ki remained calm, and that’s what carried him to the win. Many times when AJ got angry and came charging, Ki just moved out of the way. When AJ got ultra-pissed after the Kawada kicks, Ki just remained calm and aware, so he could reverse the rana attempt into the powerbomb. That match had a good story between the 2 rivals, and had some awesome, intense wrestling. There were tons of stiff moves and painful submissions, lots of fast paced sequences and good selling. Briscoe/Briscoe was better than this, but only by a hair. Excellent main event.

*Post match, Xavier meets Ki backstage, telling him he better be ready to put the title on the line against Xavier, next month in Philly.

Best match: Jay Briscoe vs Mark Briscoe (****1/4)
Worst Match: The SAT and Chris Devine vs Special K (DUD) (The second worst match I’ve ever seen too, by the way)

Overall Show thoughts: This show had a lot of bad stuff on it. A LOT. There were at least 5 matches that were completely worthless, that I really could have done without seeing. If you look at the star ratings, you can see that lots of the matches are below *, which certainly isn’t good for a company based on workrate. There is some good stuff here though, with Danielson/Morgan and London/Shane. The 2 main event matches (Briscoe/Briscoe and AJ/Ki) were both excellent, and are well worth going out of your way for to see. This DVD is worth buying for those 2 matches.

Overall score: 6/10.