Murphy Recreation Center – Philadelphia, PA – Saturday, September 20, 2003
Chris Lovey and CM Punk are handling the commentary. This is the final show ever at the Murphy Recreation Center, a very important building in ROH history. They show some of the top highlights from past shows at the Murph throughout this double-disc set.
MATCH #1: Field of Honor Match – BJ Whitmer vs. Jimmy Rave
The Field of Honor was a concept that sounded good on paper but pretty much ended up as a big flop. Basically it was two blocks of four guys wrestling each other in round robin style matches, spread over many shows. The two guys with the best record in each block would face each other in the finals. This sounds all well and good until Matt Stryker won it.
Rave is 0-1 in the FOH, while this is Whitmer’s first match. They start off with some chain wrestling, with Whitmer going after Rave’s arm. Punk immediately buries both guys. Whitmer gets the first big move with a Saito Suplex for two. He hits a back elbow for two. He locks on a chinlock and when Rave fights out of it, he flattens him with a lariat for a two-count. He continues the assault, hitting a brainbuster for another two-count. Rave avoids a charge in the corner and starts going after the arm just like his mentor AJ Styles told him to do. Whitmer counters with a dragon suplex for two. Rave fires back with chops and forearms, including a big running forearm. He hits a Divorce Court from the apron to the floor and then follows up with a running knee. Back in the ring Rave hits a rana off the top rope and then locks on a Cross Armbreaker. Whitmer breaks free and kicks Rave twice in the back. Rave comes back with a capture suplex and both men are down. Back up on their feet Rave grabs Whitmer and hits a Northern Lights Suplex into the turnbuckles. Rave puts Whitmer on the top rope but ends up paying for it as Whitmer powerbombs him down to the mat to get the win at 9:24. They were both young here and they appeared desperate to get over, so it was all moves and no selling. That usually works as an opener to get the crowd into it but that’s about it.
MATCH #2: Field of Honor Match – John Walters vs. Xavier
This is part of the other block. Xavier is 0-0 and Walters is 0-1. For some reason, both Lollipop and Allison Danger are at ringside. I have no recollection of this. Danger wants Xavier back in the Prophecy, but Xavier turns her down, officially leaving the Prophecy.
They take it right down to the mat. I know – I’m shocked too. They go back and forth, trading armdrags and such. By going hold for hold they show that they are evenly matched. Next they engage in a test of strength and that once again leads to a standoff. Walters gets a quick flurry in with a dropkick, some chops, and a hammerlock backbreaker for a two-count. He charges at Xavier in the corner and Xavier catches him and suplexes him to the floor. Xavier goes up top and hits a 450 body press to wipe Walters out. Back in the ring Xavier goes to work. Walters slips out of a suplex and get s a rolling prawn hold for a two-count. Xavier cuts Walters off with a knee to the gut, and then almost brains himself on an Arabian Press to the back. He follows up with a springboard knee drop, which is pretty cool. He locks on a Cobra Clutch and Walters breaks it. Xavier goes up top and Walters crotches him and then hits a super lungblower! Both men are down and when they recover they attack with fervor. Walters hits a Spear for a two-count. They do the fish out of water spot but obviously no three-counts are made. Walters reverses Kiss Your X Goodbye and hits a Hurricane DDT but Xavier kicks out! Xavier goes up top and hits a kind of Super Kiss Your X Goodbye but Walters gets his leg on the bottom rope to break the pin. Walters catches Xavier with a uranage backbreaker for a two-count. He goes for a German Suplex but Xavier distracts the referee long enough to hit a low blow. Xavier gets a rollup for the pin at 10:46. That was a pretty solid back and forth match and it kicked off an entertaining three-month feud culminating in a Fight Without Honor at Final Battle 2003. After the match Walters gets on the mic and chastises Xavier for using a low blow.
MATCH #3: TJ Wilson vs. Teddy Hart
Wilson is of course better known these days as Tyson Kidd. Hart is better known as “that guy who is an idiot.” They take it to the mat and things quickly get heated. Lovey shows how important this match is by going over the Code of Honor as Hart controls Wilson’s arm. Wilson comes back with an armbar of his own. Hart breaks that and they trade punches, but Wilson wins that battle with a spin kick. Wilson continues on offense as Lovey and Punk talk about his match with Terry Funk and Raven’s match with Steve Corino that will happen later tonight. Hart comes back by going after the leg. Why should I pay attention to this match if Lovey and Punk aren’t even making an effort? Lovey says they need to get back to the match but goes right back to talking about Funk. Meanwhile Hart hits a DDT off the top rope. Hart goes up and finishes the match with a beautiful shooting star press at 7:42. That was sloppy and spotty and Lovey and Punk completely buried it.
MATCH #4: Raven’s Rules Match – Raven vs. Steve Corino
I hate Steve Corino from this era more than I hate the current day Corino. The match starts slowly and Corino scores first with a couple of shoulderblocks to keep Raven off guard. Raven comes back with four shoulderblocks of his own to send Corino to the floor. Back in the ring Raven tosses Corino right back to the floor. Raven chases after him but nothing happens and they get back in the ring. He throws Corino right back outside and whips him into the guardrails. Back in the ring Raven kicks Corino in the back and hits a vertical suplex for a two-count. Raven tries a charge in the corner but Corino gets his boot up and kicks him in the face. Now Corino is in control, working over Raven with his boring offense. He puts a chair in between the top and middle turnbuckle and whips Raven into it. After a few minutes Raven comes back with a superkick and they’re both down. Back on their feet Raven hits the discuss clothesline and the Raven Comeback. He hits the drop toehold onto a chair but Luscious comes in to break up the pinfall. She receives a spanking for her trouble and CM Punk is so agog that he leaves the broadcast booth to go to ringside. Meanwhile Corino locks Raven in the Cobra Sleeper but Raven is able to break out of it and hit the Raven Effect! Punk pulls the referee to the floor and Raven chases Punk. As soon as Raven gets back in the ring Corino decks Raven with a superkick to get the pin at 13:08. That was pretty much what you would expect from these two at this time. I’m not a big fan of either.
MATCH #5: Four Corner Survival – AJ Styles vs. Chris Sabin vs. Colt Cabana vs. Matt Stryker
Styles was the NWA World Champion at this time. He and Stryker start the match aggressively. This match will have big ramifications on the Top 5 Rankings. Stryker tags out to Sabin and the two TNA superstars take it down to the mat. Styles then tags out to Cabana, and he gets the quick advantage on Sabin. They go back and forth and Cabana knocks Sabin to the floor. Cabana teases a dive and then hits a double ax handle of the apron. Styles baseball slides Cabana down, and then Stryker hits Styles with a springboard cross body block for two. Sabin flies in from out of nowhere with a springboard spin kick on Stryker. Cabana gets back in the ring and tries a Frog Splash but he hits no one. All three try to cover Cabana but the only get two-counts. The action is getting fast and furious between Styles and Sabin. Styles levels Sabin with a dropkick to the face. Cabana tags in and goes to work on Sabin, and then tags Stryker back in. Stryker hits Sabin with a powerslam for two and then locks on a rear chinlock. Sabin comes back with a straightjacket suplex but can’t hold the bridge. Cabana tags back in and attacks Sabin’s neck. They go up top and Sabin is able to reverse the momentum and hit a super neckbreaker! Both men are down and when they get up they make tags. Styles is on fire but everyone else is keeping pace with him. Stryker comes back on Styles with a shoulderblock but Styles kips up into a rana. Styles tries a monkey flip but Stryker catches him in a suplex. Cabana tags in and works on Styles’ neck. Stryker comes in and sort of follows up on that strategy. He wanders too close to the corner and Sabin tags himself in. Sabin lifts Styles for a delayed vertical suplex for a two-count. Cabana tags back in and locks Styles in an abdominal stretch. Sabin comes in and grabs Cabana in a submission, and Stryker puts Sabin in one. That’s cute. Styles breaks free and superkicks Cabana, and then hits the flipping inverted DDT on both Stryker and Sabin simultaneously. He levels Stryker with the discuss clothesline. The referee has lost control as all four men are in the ring at the same time. Stryker hits Styles with a flip over German Suplex, and then hits Cabana with a Thesz Press and a quebrada for two. Sabin hits Cabana with a reverse rana. He goes for an Alabama Slam on Styles, but it gets reversed into a flying piledriver. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before or since. Sabin kicks out. Moments later Cabana hits Stryker with the Colt to get the pin at 18:55. That was a lot of action but they went on a little too long.
MATCH #6: Qualifying Match – Special K vs. The Carnage Crew
AJ Styles & Amazing Red were the previous tag team champions, but Red got injured so the titles had to be vacated. We’re starting out with a six-man tag team match, as Special K’s Hydro, Deranged, and Angeldust (accompanied by Becky Bayless) are taking on the Carnage Crew’s Loc, DeVito, and Justin Credible. The match starts out as a big brawl, which the Crew dominates of course, whether inside the ring or outside of it. Becky interferes from ringside, allowing Special K to take control. Punk says he’s going to start numbering the Special K kids. Anti-Semite. After several minutes of Special K offense, Credible hits a superkick out of nowhere on Deranged. Loc tags in and throws all three members of Special K around. The match once again turns into a big brawl, and Credible stops the referee from making a three-count at one point. Credible wants to deliver a super piledriver and a bunch of Special K members come out to interfere and they drop straps in the ring. The Crew picks up the straps and they get disqualified at 9:02. How the hell can Special K interfere right in front of the ref and not get disqualified but then the Carnage Crew get DQ’d for using straps? At least Lovey calls it questionable officiating, so kudos for acknowledging it.
MATCH #7: Gauntlet Series for the Vacant ROH Tag Team Championship
Special K drops down to Hydro and Deranged to take on the Briscoe Brothers. The action is incredibly fast paced from the beginning, and the Briscoes give Special K a lot of offense. Mark hits a springboard Ace Crusher on Hydro for two. Deranged breaks up the pin and hits Mark with a nasty looking Code Red for two. The Briscoes throw some suplexes, and then finish Hydro off with the Spiked Jay Driller at 2:48.
Next up is Dunn and Marcos, the Ring Crew Express. They cut their little promo and the Briscoes take immediate advantage before the bell even rings. Dunn & Marcos come back with an assisted Sliced Bread #2, and then they celebrate. Mark makes them pay with multiple head drop suplexes. Moments later the Briscoes hit Dunn with the Springboard Doomsday Device to eliminate them at 1:42.
Dixie and Izzy, the second team from Special K, are out to battle the brothers from Delaware. The Briscoes attack them right away and go to work on them. They hit Dixie with a springboard Decapitation Knee Drop. They don’t even go for a cover and just keep beating on Dixie. Lovey makes a disparaging comment about Lucy and Punk leaves the booth. Ray Murrow comes in to replace him. In the meantime Special K gains control and works on Mark. Other members of Special K interfere from the floor. Mark finally comes back with a spinning body press off the top rope and makes the tag. Jay is on fire, and Mark gets in on the action with a moonsault off the top rope. Cloudy pulls Jay to the floor and another one of them distracts the referee. Angeldust hits a blockbuster on an unawares Mark, and the referee turns around to count the pin at 5:25.
The Backseat Boyz come out and they are the final team in the gauntlet. They attack Special K right away with their fancy double-team moves. The Backseats hit the Dream Sequence and at the very end of it Izzy springboards into the ring right on top of Kashmere. Trent Acid and Izzy go back and forth, and Izzy hits a reverse rana for a two-count. They do more ridiculous moves and Special K goes for the T-Gimmick on Acid. Kashmere breaks it up and the Backseat Boyz hit the T-Gimmick to get the pin and win the vacant titles at 3:54.
Special K attacks the Backseat Boyz after the bell and tries to ruin their moment. The Briscoe brothers come out to make the save, and for some reason Teddy Hart comes out and hits an insane dive onto everyone on the floor. As far as the gauntlet, the Briscoes are the only team I care about at all in this thing, and the matches were all too short (except the first one, which sucked anyway) to really mean anything. ROH would go on to get much better tag teams after they started building the division around the Briscoe Brothers right after this.
MATCH #8: Alexis Laree vs. Hijinx
This starts out as Gary Michael Cappetta interviewing Alexis Laree, who has just signed her contract with WWE. She thanks ROH fans and stuff as the fans chant “please don’t go.” I’m sorry, but I don’t remember her doing ANYTHING memorable in Ring of Honor. Special K comes out to interrupt, and Joey Matthews makes the save. But it’s a swerve, as she kisses him and he responds with a clothesline! Matthews picks up a chair and Slugger comes out and makes the save for real. He’s followed by Julius Smokes and Benny Blanco. They take out Special K.
Then for some reason Smokes decides that Laree needs to wrestle Hijinx and he needs to be the referee. Laree dominates in the early going, hitting a headscissors and a sloppy rana for two. Hijinx avoids an enziguiri and drops an elbow to the back. He hits a backbreaker and goes for a spinning senton off the second rope but Laree moves. He gets up and tries a DDT but Laree slips out and hits an inverted DDT to get the pin at 1:16. No seriously, can someone remind me what she actually did in ROH?
MATCH #9: CM Punk vs. Terry Funk
Punk cuts his customary awesome promo before the match. They trade slaps before the bell and away we go. Funk gets the first advantage with an armdrag, and Punk rolls to the floor. Back in the ring Punk attacks while Fun is trying to get back in the ring. Funk comes back and goes after the arm. He hits a hangman’s neckbreaker and Punk once again rolls to the floor. Funk follows him out but once again Punk rolls back in the ring and takes advantage. Punk punches Funk to the floor and follows him out for more punches. He gets on the mic and announces that this is now a hardcore match. That announcement only serves to fire Funk up, and they trade shots on the floor now. Funk whips Punk into the guardrail and hits him with a chair. They fight on the timekeeper’s table and Punk hits Funk with a chair now. Back in the ring Punk continues throwing punches. Funk falls to the apron and Punk tries to suplex him back in, but Funk instead suplexes Punk through the timekeeper’s table. He then slams Punk’s head into the table repeatedly. Back in the ring Funk goes for the moonsault but Punk moves out of the way. That injures Funk’s knee and Punk attacks it like a shark smelling blood. Lovey is aghast that Punk would attack the knee, saying Punk should have more respect than that. Funk comes back with a Stunner out of nowhere. Punk attacks the knee with a spinning toehold and then a Figure Four Leglock. Funk rolls it over and they roll to the ropes. Punk grabs a chair and assaults Funk’s knee with it. He once again locks on the Figure-Four Leglock. Funk reaches the ropes again. Punk pulls him back out to the center of the ring and goes for it again but Funk punches his way out of it. Funk uses the spinning toehold but Punk counters it and once again locks on the Figure Four. Once again Funk reaches the ropes. Punk puts on the Figure Four again while Funk is still in the ropes and Punk will not break the hold so referee Paul Turner disqualifies him at 15:47.
Colt Cabana comes out and yells at Punk, but then HE puts Funk in the Figure Four Leglock. Raven finally comes out to make the save. Tommy Dreamer comes in from out of nowhere and forces Cabana back to the ring so that Raven can hit him with the Raven Effect. Funk then hits Cabana with a Stunner. You know, I love Terry Funk as much as the next guy, but he really had no business being in the ring by this point. The match was pretty dull and the finish sucked. If you’re going to put Punk over, put him over. If you’re not, don’t book the match.
MATCH #10: ROH World Title Match – Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels
Joe has been the champion since 3.22.03 and this is his seventh defense. Daniels is accompanied by Allison Danger. The champ kicks Daniels straight in the face and almost gets a pinfall right off the bat. He kicks Daniels in the corner and then throws him into the opposite corner for a running forearm. Daniels ducks a clothesline and hits a couple of armdrags and a dropkick. Joe cuts him right off. He hits the Big Joe Combo, coming down on Daniels’s shoulder. Daniels comes back with a leg lariat and a Russian Legsweep. He follows up with an Arabian Press for a two-count. Joe fires back with a spinning back fist. He traps Daniels in the corner and hits the face wash. He nails a backbreaker and then locks on a Boston Crab, and then turns it into a Samoan Crab. Danger helps Daniels reach the ropes and she holds on as Joe drags Daniels back into the center of the ring. Joe tries to face wash Danger but Daniels shoulderblocks him to the floor. Daniels follows him out with an Arabian Press. He tries to hit the Ole Kick but Joe cuts him off and shows him how it’s done. Back in the ring Joe uses the rolling cradle to score a two-count. Daniels ducks a lariat and hits a release German Suplex. Both men get back to their feet and Joe hits a snap powerslam for two. Daniels blocks a kick and hits two enziguiris and a Flatliner. They get up and Daniels hits a Samoan Drop. How dare he! Daniels hits the uranage slam and lands the Best Moonsault Ever but Joe kicks out at two! Joe comes back with the STO for two. He hits a couple knees to the head and a lariat for another two-count. The champ looks winded. Daniels hits the Flatliner and locks on the Koji Clutch but Joe reaches the ropes. The challenger stays on the champion, hitting a Blue Thunder Driver for two. He sets Joe on the top rope for the Iconoclasm but Joe blocks it, so Daniels instead hits a super rana. Daniels hits the Angel’s Wings and the bell rings but Joe actually kicked out! The crowd is pissed. Daniels tries Last Rites but Joe reverses it to the Choke, and Daniels reaches the ropes! Joe is pissed and he hits an enziguiri and the Island Driver to retain the title at 15:01. That certainly blew away the rest of the card with a great story and fast paced action all the way through. They would go on to do better later on.